What is “proper cause” to challenge custody?

Under the Child Custody Act, proper cause or a change in circumstances means one or more appropriate grounds that have or could have a significant effect on the child’s life to the extent that a reevaluation of the child’s custodial situation should be undertaken.

To establish proper cause, necessary to revisit a child custody order, not just any fact relevant to the twelve statutory best interest factors will constitute sufficient cause; rather, the grounds presented must be legally sufficient (i.e. they must be of a magnitude to have a significant effect on the child’s well-being to the extent that revisiting the custody order would be proper). MCLA 722.23 (a-l), 722.27(1)(c).

The court in Killingbeck v. Killingbeck, 269 Mich. App. 132 (2005), stated that not just any change will suffice to establish a change in circumstances; the evidence must demonstrate something more than the normal life changes that occur during the life of a child, and there must be at least some evidence that the material changes have had or will almost certainly have an effect on the child.

For more information regarding changing custody, contact the attorneys at SMDA, P.C. for a free consultation.