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Can a child custody order be appealed or challenged?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2023 | Child Custody

It is easy for a family law matter to get away from one of the parents involved. Maybe there was a scheduling snafu and they didn’t come to court on the appointed day. Perhaps depression got the better of the parent and they failed to really advocate for themselves.

There are many reasons why one parent might feel very disappointed or frustrated about the terms of their Michigan custody order. They may also be frustrated by the terms of their parenting plan, which governs the ins and outs of how co-parenting arrangements function. Although judges try to do what is in the best interests of the children, sometimes parent feels strongly that a custody order is unfair.

Michigan allows appeals

In a scenario involving a litigated custody case where parents presented testimony and evidence to a judge to have them create the custody order, it is possible for someone unhappy with the outcome to appeal a judge’s decision. Typically, they will need to file the appeal paperwork within 21 days of the hearing. Otherwise, an appeal may not be possible. Thankfully, even if too much time has passed to appeal a decision, parents can also request modifications.

Modifications may be available whenever situations change

A parent always has the option of asking for someone to review whether a custody order is actually in the best interests of the children. There isn’t a deadline for requesting a custody modification in Michigan the way there is with an appeal request.

At any point while the custody order is still in effect, either parent could file paperwork with the courts requesting a modification hearing. They will need to present evidence showing that there has been a change in circumstances. A judge can then reevaluate the custody arrangements based on what they believe would be in the best interests of the children in the family.

For better and for worse, parents typically need to abide by the terms of an existing custody order if/until they succeed in making changes to it in family court, as doing otherwise may put them at risk of enforcement actions. Understanding how to address a child custody order and/or parenting plan with unsatisfactory terms can help parents who are worried about preserving their relationship with their children.