How Do I Modify Court Orders Regarding Child Custody, Visitation and Child Support in the OC?
FAQ: How do I modify Child custody, visitation and support orders in California? Both child support orders and child custody and visitation orders will likely need to be modified at some point after their creation in order to remain useful. There are various reasons that modifications might be necessary, and a specific court process exists just for these situations.
As with all matters regarding family law and children, it is always best to consult a skilled family lawyer in California prior to initiating the process of modifying a court order.
Can I Modify My Child Support Order in the OC?
In order to change a child support order in California, you may request to change it by meeting the following circumstances.
• Generally, you will need to show that there has been a change in circumstances since the current child support order was created. The change should make it so the current child support order is no longer feasible, possible, or no longer provides adequate support for the child.
• However, if the amount of child support ordered by the judge was below the California guideline amount, you may request that the amount is changed at any time, without showing a change in circumstances.
As a child grows, his or her needs are likely to change. Because a child support order depends somewhat on a child custody order, it is also may need to be modified as a child custody order is modified.
There are many circumstances that may require a modification to a child support order in California.
• If either parent’s income changes, child support may be modified to require a percentage of each parent’s income to be paid in child support;
• If one parent is no longer able to pay child support due to hospitalization, incarceration, or other extreme circumstances;
• If the child’s needs have changed, for example, if health care costs have gone up, both parents may be required to pay a higher amount;
• If either parent has a child in another relationship;
• If the child is spending significantly more or less time with either parent;
• There are many other reasons why a child support order might need to be modified.
Can I Modify my Orange County Child Custody and Visitation Order?
• First, there needs to have been a significant change in circumstances that has made it so that the existing custody order is no longer in the best interest of the child, so a new custody order is required so that it will be in the child’s best interest;
• Second, the new custody order needs to be in the child’s best interest, and it needs to allow the children to maintain stable relationships with both parents (as long as that is in the child’s best interest).
It is not uncommon to change a child custody agreement in California. Usually, as a child grows, his or her needs will change in a way that requires a new custody agreement between the parents every two to three years.
Examples of a significant change in circumstances may include the following situations.
• If either parent’s work schedule has changed, especially the noncustodial parent, the order may need to be changed to allow the child to spend ample time with that parent;
• If the parents have moved closer to one another, the custody order may be modified to allow the child to spend time with both parents;
• If the parents have, or are considering moving far from one another, the custody order will need to be modified to allow the child to spend time with both parents;
• If either parent is acting irresponsibly, for example, abusing drugs or alcohol, failing to supervise the child, etc., the custody agreement may need to be modified so that it is in the child’s best interest;
• As the child grows, he or she will become more independent, and the custody order will need to be modified in order to accommodate both the parents and child’s needs and schedules.
Remember that when you are creating a new custody agreement, you’ll need to consider the child’s best interests regarding both physical custody and legal custody. The court will consider things like the child’s relationship with both parents, his or her age, health and ties to the community, the parents’ abilities to care for the child, and any history of substance abuse or domestic violence.
A new custody agreement that is made to spite the other parent may backfire, so it is in your best interest to consider the child’s needs before your own and to promote a healthy relationship between your child and his or her other parent.
How Do I Modify My Family Law Related Court Orders in California?
Modifying Child Support in California
If you have determined that it is appropriate to ask for a modification of your child support order, remember that the existing child support order is valid and can be legally enforced until the modification has been approved by a judge and a new order has been signed. This means that even if you have a significant change, like job loss, it is your responsibility to modify the order as soon as possible and to continue following the terms of the existing order until the modification has been completed.
To modify child support in California, you can either ask your local child support agency or you can ask the court. If you and your child’s other parent can come to an agreement outside of court, you may submit your new agreement to the judge for approval. If you ask your local child support agency, they will initiate a case with the court on your child’s behalf. Remember that your local child support agency is not working for you; it is their job to ensure that all children are financially cared for by their parents so that they are not the responsibility of the state.
If you choose to file on your own, make sure to discuss your case with a lawyer beforehand. You will need to follow these steps to do so:
• File a Request for Order, as well as an Income and Expense Declaration after having them approved by an attorney;
• You will receive a court date;
• Serve the papers that you filed with the court on your spouse;
• File a Proof of Service with the court;
• Attend your hearing, at which time you will find out if your new order has been approved.
It is always advised that you consult a family law attorney while in the process of modifying a child support order in California.
Modifying Child Custody in California
Keep in mind that a child custody order should always be made in the best interests of the child. If you have decided that it is appropriate and necessary to request a child custody modification, and you can prove it to the court, you will need to file a case with the court. To do so, follow the steps below.
• Fill out a Request for Order, and the Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment. These forms will allow you to explain why a change in custody is necessary;
• If possible, create a new child custody and visitation agreement. You may choose to do this with your child’s other parent, on your own, or with the help of a professional;
• Always have an attorney review your paperwork prior to filing it with the court;
• Once you have filed, the clerk will give you a court date;
• Serve your paperwork on the child’s other parent and file a proof of service with the court;
• Attend mediation if necessary, as well as the court hearing.
Often, mediation is required in order to make a new child custody agreement. Like with other court orders, people are more likely to follow the terms of the order if they had a hand in their creation. If you and your spouse can work out a new child custody and visitation agreement that is in the best interest of your child, you may submit it to the judge for approval.
Modification of Family Law Orders Attorney in Southern California