Absent a motion, petition or order to show cause brought by a party, the trial court lacked authority to amend or modify a custody order from joint to sole custody.
Trial court does not have authority to change placement within two years of the initial placement order, absent finding of harm, if the modification would substantially alter the time a parent spends with the child.
Post Divorce diagnosis of asthma was a change of circumstances warranting a transfer of custody where mother continued to smoke.
Standard of proof for modification of visitation is different from standard for modification of custody since modification of visitation impacts less upon the welfare of a child than a complete transfer of custody.
Burden of proof for change of custody is on movant to show that removal is necessary.
Standard for change in custody is necessity, because current conditions are harmful to child(ren).
(1) Where custodial parent engages in illicit relationships, the court must show a connection between the relationship and some harm to the child. Parent is not unfit if there is no effect on the children. (2) Also, basing decision on religious affiliation is an abuse of discretion. (3) Change of custody cannot be ordered based on economic, social or academic environment.
Millikin standard applies to terminate joint custody and award custody solely to one parent.
In a joint custody arrangement, neither party’s rights are superior to the other. If joint custody is terminated, there is an initial award of sole custody, Millikin standard does not apply.
Millikin standard does not apply to motions to change joint custody. Physical placement awards are “basically unenforceable surplusage.”