Once a custody determination has been made by the Court, either by agreement of the parties or after a trial, the Court will retain jurisdiction to modify legal or physical custody until the child turns 18. Legal custody refers to the right to determine the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training. Physical custody refers to the routine daily care and control of the child and the residence of the child.

If a party seeks to modify a child custody order, that party must establish that there has been a change in the child’s circumstances requiring the change of custody to serve the child’s best interests and:

  1. Both parties agree to the modification;
  2. The child has been integrated into the family of the noncustodial parent with the consent of the other parent;
  3. The child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or impairs the child’s emotional development and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child; or
  4. The court has denied a request of the primary custodial parent to move the residence of the child to another state, and the primary custodial parent has relocated to another state despite the court’s order.

In addition, a party may seek a modification of custody if there has been a “persistent and willful denial or interference with visitation, or has reason to believe that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical or emotional health or impair the child’s emotional development.”  In some cases, the parties may have agreed to a different standard for the Court to use in modifying custody or is seeking permission to relocate with the child to another state.  If a different standard was agreed to and approved by the Court in an earlier court order or decree, that standard would apply to a request to change custody.

In determining whether a modification of custody is warranted, the Court will consider a wide range of information including the preference of a child if that child is considered to be of sufficient age and maturity.  However, under Minnesota law, there is no age where a child’s preference is controlling in determining whether a change in custody will be ordered.

Contact an experienced Minneapolis family law attorney today

 If you are in the midst of, or are considering filing a modification request, you need the legal guidance and representation of a leading Twin Cities family law attorney, so call Arnold, Rodman & Kretchmer PLLC at 952-955-8008 for a consultation of your case.