What if I need to change a child custody order?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Custody |

In California family law, disputes or issues revolving around children can be complex and contentious. Once the case is settled and the custody and parenting time arrangement is complete, people should realize that it is not set in stone permanently. Just as the circumstances were key when the initial decision was made regarding the child, those circumstances might change.

With these changes, the custody and parenting arrangement might need to be changed. In some cases, the sides are agreeable and can negotiate a settlement to adjust the order. In others, the mere idea stokes discord. Having legal help is key just as it was during the divorce.

Fundamental points about changing child custody

The time frame for which a child custody and parenting time agreement might be changed can vary. In general, it happens around two or three years after it was put in effect. If the parents are on decent terms or even friendly, then making the changes can be relatively simple. When they are not in that position, court intervention might be necessary. For a modification through the courts, a parent must file papers making the request. Having a mediator is common to discuss the reasons for the proposed changes.

Parents must prove a “change in circumstances” regarding the modification. For example, perhaps a parent moved to a different area and the parenting time schedule needs to be adjusted. Depending on the child’s development, they might need to live with the other parent due to behavioral problems, schooling or other reasons. Just as with the original custody and parenting time template, the child’s best interests are paramount.

Legal help for custody modifications

Regardless of the situation, parents must be aware that the custody and parenting time is unlikely to be static and changes are probable as the child grows. Whether there is acrimony or the sides are in relative agreement as to the need to modify the agreement, it is imperative to have professional assistance when making these changes just as it is useful during the divorce.