Guidance In Making Changes To A California Child Custody Order
Once a child custody and parenting time order is established, it is up to both parents to follow that order. If either parent violates the terms of the order, it can be cause for contempt, even if the violation was unintentional or both parents agreed on the change. When a child custody order must be modified, you need the help of an experienced lawyer.
Our attorneys and staff at Klausner | Johnson LLP know that life is constantly changing. Job changes, moving between houses, pandemics, school changes and other issues can cause a family to have a need to rearrange their lives. We work with divorced parents and unmarried parents in Orange County to seek modifications to custody orders so that the new arrangements better suit everyone’s lives and still protect the children.
Reasons For Modification
For the court to even consider modifying a standing child custody order, the parent has to have documentation that shows that they have experienced a drastic change in their circumstances. This can include:
- Job loss
- Getting a new job
- Changing primary residences
- A subsequent marriage
- Uncertainty about a parent’s suitability to parent
The change must be significant enough to warrant a modification, and the changes to the order must still be in the child’s best interests. The courts will not approve a change if the child’s custody arrangement is not stable and consistent.
The Modification Process
While there are many steps in the process of seeking a modification that your attorney can walk you through, the main thing to know is that any changes to a custody order must go through the courts. It is not possible for you to make changes, even with the agreement of the other parent, to the order on your own. One or both of you will be at risk if you decide to change the terms of the existing parenting time arrangements.
After you have consulted with your attorney regarding the modification, you will have to fill out a number of documents that must be reviewed by your lawyer and submitted to the court. You will have a court date set by the court, or a mediation date if that is required by the court first. Papers will need to be served to the other parent before the court date.
Once the judge has reviewed the documents and heard the arguments for modification, they will make a decision either granting the modification or rejecting it. Either way, our firm is here to help and explain your options for what comes next.