If you have a custody or visitation order in place, you may wonder how the order can be modified by either parent. In practice, child custody orders cannot always be easily modified, especially if they are recent.
However, California law does allow for modifications under certain circumstances. It is best to seek legal counsel to determine if your situation will qualify for a modification.
How Soon Can You Request a Change?
Often, a custody order will need to be modified every two or three years. Regardless of whether or not your custody order is old, in order to even have a court consider changing your custody order you must demonstrate a “change in circumstances” since the last custody order was made.
Depending on the case, this may not be an easy step. To show a “change in circumstances” you must prove that there has been a significant change that requires a new custody and visitation schedule for the best interest of the children.
Do You Need to Go Back to Court?
If you and the other parent can agree on changes, it may be possible to avoid going back to court. While you may think that the other parent will never agree to your proposed plan, the help of an experienced attorney may make such an agreement possible.
Having a family law attorney represent your interests in these negotiations can be a huge asset to your case—the attorney will be familiar with the format this type of agreement. Once an agreement is made among the parties, your attorney will reduce the details to writing and submit it to the court. Typically, the court accepts such agreements without holding a hearing.
However, you should not agree to an arrangement that has not been put in writing and that has not been filed with the court. If you operate under such terms, numerous problems can occur.
For example, if the other parent decides to stop following the new, verbal agreement, then you have no recourse to hold him or her to the arrangement. The best practice is for the parents to follow that which the court has ordered or approved.
Call a San Jose Child Custody Lawyer
There are many reasons why your custody order may need to be modified. Children’s needs are ever-changing, and parents’ circumstances can render a custody order difficult for the parties to follow.
If you are interested in a custody modification, our firm can evaluate your case, assess likely outcomes, and negotiate or file pleadings on your behalf. The experienced San Jose, CA custody modification attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP can be reached at 408-288-5592.