Dealing with Custody Changes

A couple in Maryland lost custody of their children after posting a series of “pranking” videos on YouTube. Jodi and Shannon from Terzich & Ort stop by to talk about what needs to happen in Minnesota to change a custody agreement.

Jodi and Shannon’s thoughts are below:

What happens if you think your kids are being harmed?

Must be able to prove it. The harm must be significant not just poor parenting

What type of proof is required?

It depends on if you just started a divorce/ custody case or if you are coming to the court after the original deamination of custody

Once child custody is established in Minnesota (both legal custody and physical custody), it can be difficult to modify it. The standard necessary to modify custody is something more than just “the best interests of the children,” which is the standard applied to initially establish child custody in Minnesota. A parent seeking to change the original custody determination must prove the child is endangered.

They do so by showing videos, photos. Actual proof is required.

Why is the standard so hard

Family courts want to provide stability for families. The standard to change an initial order is higher- harder – so that we do not having families back in court every time someone is angry. There is a difference between parenting poorly not getting kids to bed, not brushing teeth not completing homework and abuse. It is also important to remember that spanking is not abuse in MN. Parents can discipline their children. It is the decree and severity that can raise concerns. Typically easier to prove physical abuse. It leaves a mark on a child. Verbal abuse is much more difficult to prove. In this case the dad made it pretty easy. You can see the distress in the children on the videos.

If you have questions for Jodi or Shannon, visit their website here.

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