518.18 MODIFICATION OF ORDER.
(a) Unless agreed to in writing by the parties, no motion to modify a custody order or
parenting plan may be made earlier than one year after the date of the entry of a decree of
dissolution or legal separation containing a provision dealing with custody, except in accordance
with paragraph (c).
(b) If a motion for modification has been heard, whether or not it was granted, unless agreed
to in writing by the parties no subsequent motion may be filed within two years after disposition
of the prior motion on its merits, except in accordance with paragraph (c).
(c) The time limitations prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) shall not prohibit a motion to
modify a custody order or parenting plan if the court finds that there is persistent and willful denial
or interference with parenting time, 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.
(d) If the court has jurisdiction to determine child custody matters, the court shall not modify
a prior custody order or a parenting plan provision which specifies the child's primary residence
unless it finds, upon the basis of facts, including unwarranted denial of, or interference with, a duly
established parenting time schedule, that have arisen since the prior order or that were unknown
to the court at the time of the prior order, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the
child or the parties and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.
In applying these standards the court shall retain the custody arrangement or the parenting plan
provision specifying the child's primary residence that was established by the prior order unless:
(i) the court finds that a change in the custody arrangement or primary residence is in the
best interests of the child and the parties previously agreed, in a writing approved by a court, to
apply the best interests standard in section
, as applicable; and, with respect
to agreements approved by a court on or after April 28, 2000, both parties were represented by
counsel when the agreement was approved or the court found the parties were fully informed, the
agreement was voluntary, and the parties were aware of its implications;
(ii) both parties agree to the modification;
(iii) the child has been integrated into the family of the petitioner with the consent of the
(iv) 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
(v) 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 court may modify a custody order or parenting plan under section
(e) In deciding whether to modify a prior joint custody order, the court shall apply the
standards set forth in paragraph (d) unless: (1) the parties agree in writing to the application of a
different standard, or (2) the party seeking the modification is asking the court for permission to
move the residence of the child to another state.
(f) If a parent has been granted sole physical custody of a minor and the child subsequently
lives with the other parent, and temporary sole physical custody has been approved by the court or
by a court-appointed referee, the court may suspend the obligor's child support obligation pending
the final custody determination. The court's order denying the suspension of child support must
include a written explanation of the reasons why continuation of the child support obligation
would be in the best interests of the child.
History: (8597) RL s 3586; 1978 c 772 s 44; 1979 c 259 s 21; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 574 s
17; 1991 c 266 s 1; 1994 c 630 art 11 s 8; 1995 c 257 art 1 s 21; 2000 c 444 art 1 s 5; 2001
c 51 s 11; 2006 c 280 s 14