During divorce or child custody proceedings, a judge creates a custody order that must be followed by the parents unless a judge changes it later. These orders can be the result of a parenting plan, approved by a judge after cooperation and negotiation by parents, or the sole decision of the judge when parents are unwilling or unable to work together. But what happens if the parents later decide that a mistake was made or life changes have brought about the need to change a custody order?
Minnesota judges are allowed to change custody orders, but, barring special circumstances such as danger to the child, this cannot be done for at least a year after the original ruling or for two years after a modification.
A judge can only transfer primary physical custody from one parent to the other when doing so is in the best interests of the child. This means the court must find that there is a need to make this change when circumstances such as these are present:
Alternatively, when both parents agree to the modification, and it is also in the best interests of the child, a court may change primary custody. Similar rules apply when awarding primary physical custody in cases where shared custody currently exists. A court may also take into account the preferences of the child, especially for older children. Each case is different, so you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney when facing child custody issues.
For help modifying a custody order or contesting a modification, contact a dedicated Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.
"Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.
"With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.
"Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.
"I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.
"Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.
"I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.