When a court issues orders laying out the terms of child custody and visitation, it does so to serve the children’s best interests. However, these orders are not etched in stone. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes changes occur that require modifications to the custody agreements.
Here is what you need to know about modifying child custody orders in California:
There must be a substantial change in circumstances
A court-ordered custody arrangement can only be modified if major changes have occurred since the orders were issued. It could be a relocation of one parent that makes it hard or prevents the other from accessing the children or when one parent remarries, and their new partner has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
The child’s needs may also change. For example, suppose a child develops a medical condition requiring additional care or prefers a specific living arrangement. In that case, custody orders may need to be revised to meet the child’s needs.
Such material changes on the side of the parents or children can be sufficient to modify the current custody orders. It is also worth noting that a court can modify its earlier orders if a co-parent constantly violates them. Ultimately, the overarching factor that will inform any potential changes is the children’s best interests.
Take the proper steps to protect your children’s interests
Modifying custody orders can be complex, especially if you are not on the same page with your spouse. If your co-parent objects to the changes you propose, it means going to court, where a judge will decide the way forward upon reviewing the evidence from both parties.
It’s essential to seek informed guidance to help you navigate the legal process and increase your chances of achieving a desirable outcome.