Defendant Father appealed a post-judgment modification of a 2011 child custody order. He claimed that Plaintiff Mother failed to establish that proper cause or a change in circumstances existed that would permit review of the original custody determination. In this case, the trial court found that the father’s change in his work schedule and his return to the late shift was a change in circumstances that was legally sufficient to permit review of the trial court’s prior custody order. The court modified the joint custody award and gave primary physical custody to Mom.
The trial court found that no established custodial environment existed with either parent (poor kids), thus Mom's burden of proof on her motion for modification was by a preponderance of the evidence.
The trial court held that the overall change in the children’s home environment because of his return to the midnight shift had a significant effect on the children’s well-being so that the mother could get over the hurdle imposed by Vodvarka v Grasmeyer.
Download Richer v Richer Docket No. 316358 Unpublished (December 10, 2013)