Are you or your child unhappy with your custody order? Whether you agreed to an arrangement or whether the order was handed down after a hearing, you may be able to modify your custody order.
However, simply because you want a change does not mean that a court will entertain your request. There are specific steps and showings required.
Does the Other Parent Agree?
If the other parent agrees to the changes you propose, you can have your attorney draft a new agreement and file it with the court. The court typically accepts a custody agreement to which both parents agree.
Once a court signs the order, it will become legally enforceable on the parents. This is an important step that will save you from any disputes about which parent is not honoring the custody order.
Even if the other parent does not agree to all the changes you are proposing, it may be possible to reach a compromise with the help of an attorney experienced in family law negotiations. The starting place is that the other parent wants to change the custody order as well.
Need for Material Change in Circumstances
A court will not hear your request for a custody order modification if you cannot show that a “change in circumstances” has taken place since the last custody order was decided. This must be a significant change that requires a new visitation and custody order for the best interests of the children.
Examples of change of circumstance include:
Moving or planning to move;New spouse or living situation;Criminal convictions;Failure of the parent with primary custody to provide for the needs of the child;A parent has developed a drug or alcohol addiction; andThe physical or mental health of a parent has declined and interferes with caring for the child.
Once you prove that there has been a material change in circumstances you then must prove to the court that your request should be granted because it is in the best interests of the child.
Commons Scenarios When Modification Can Be Useful
Child custody modifications tend to be needed every two-and-a-half or three years. As children grow older, their needs change. Also, changes in the parent’s life may make orders unworkable. For example, if a child joins a sports club that travels out of town on weekends, that could cut into visitation time of one parent. In such a circumstance, you should seek legal counsel to determine if modification is appropriate.
Contact a San Jose Paternity Lawyer
You do not have to live with a court order that does not work for your family. Call our attorney to find out if your court order could be modified.
The skilled San Jose, CA custody order modification attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP offers free consultations. Call our offices today at 408-288-5592.