You need to demonstrate 1) there is proper cause or a change in circumstances to warrant a change in custody, and 2) it is in the best interests of the child to change custody. Changing custody is extremely difficult to do. It is a long process because the first hearing is to just see if you can show something has changed so that the court will even evaluate the best interest factors. Take a look at them and focus your motion to them keeping the focus on the child, i.e. "dad abuses drugs." That is bad, but how does it affect the child. "Dad abuses drugs and cannot attend to the child's food and shelter because he is intoxicated during parenting time" would be more specific with a focus on the child. This will get you a better chance of getting the FOC to investigate or the court setting the matter for an evidentiary hearing (like a trial). Best thing would be to see if your child's other parent is willing to work out a compromise. I know finances are tight for a lot of people, but this type of motion is very difficult to win and I would suggest getting an attorney.
I agree with Ms. Stone. Change in Custody motions are very hard to win and are very time consuming. Call an attorney and see if they can work with you. Many attorneys give free consultations or can at least help you draft the motion for a nominal fee.
Kennedy Law Office, PLLC
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship has been established. Please contact an attorney about your legal rights. This answer is for educational purposes only.
Do yourself a favor and hire an experienced family law attorney to represent you. The process is far too complicated for a layperson to effectively maneuver through. You could save yourself a lot of time and aggravation if an attorney reviews your factual basis for change of custody and determines that there is not enough in your favor to warrant pursuing the change. Assuming you get by the first hurdle (proper change in circumstances), then there are 12 custody factors come in to play. These factors will determine the outcome of any custody proceeding if the same goes to trial/hearing.
Neil M. Colman
Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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