Can Custody of Our Child be Modified After the Divorce is Finalized in OC California?
Can Custody be modified after CA divorce is finalized? Under certain circumstances, a child custody and visitation order can be modified after a divorce is finalized in California. The Court will modify a child custody and visitation order at any point, but it is easier in some situations than in others. The parents of a child can choose to modify the child custody order for their child at any time.
A child custody and visitation order should always be made in the best interest of a child; however, as a child grows and changes, his or her best interests may also change.
Changing a child custody and visitation order is similar to changing any other court order. The process is called a modification.
However, changing a custody and visitation order is not always simple or possible, and it is in your best interest as well as the best interest of your child to create the best child custody agreement that you can during your divorce.
When Can I File for the Modification of a Child Custody Order in California?
In California, you may file to modify a child custody and visitation order at any time, but it is most likely to be granted only in certain circumstances. A modification that is found “necessary and proper” by the Court is usually one that is made in the best interest of the child in question. Since the original child custody and visitation order was made in the best interest of the child at the time it was created, the parent who seeks to modify the custody and visitation order needs to show the court that a significant change in circumstances has occurred in order to show that the modification is necessary.
It is not uncommon for parents to renegotiate the terms of a child custody and visitation order every 2 and a half to three years simply because the lives of both parents and of the child will change.
It is possible to change the child custody and visitation order successfully without a significant change in circumstances; however, it will not be easy.
A few common examples of a significant change in circumstances that may warrant a modification of a child custody order may include the following.
• If one parent has moved closer to the other one, the custody and visitation order may be changed so that the child spends time, or more time with the noncustodial parent;
• If the parents’ work schedules have changed, the custody order may be changed so that the child spends more or less time with either parent;
• If the child’s preference has changed, and the court decides to take that into consideration;
• As a child grows up, his or her needs and best interests may change based on education, extracurricular activities, and more;
• If either parent has shown that he or she is an irresponsible parent, and it has created issues for the child, such as getting the child to school late, the child performing unusually bad in school, or if either the parent or child has an issue with substance abuse.
• If either parent has been incarcerated;
• If either parent wishes to relocate, and either wants to take the child with him or her, or will no longer be able to spend time with the child according to the current custody and visitation order. This is called a move-away case.
How do I Modify a Child Custody and Visitation Order in California?
It’s best to first look up your local family court services, which you can find at City Hall or your local courthouse. You may be required to go through mediation prior to filing paperwork to modify your custody and visitation order.
If you are ready to file a request for modification with the court, the following steps may serve as a general how-to guide. Remember that nothing you find online is a viable substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney.
Fill out both the Request for Order and the Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment. This is where you’ll explain why you want to modify the existing child custody and visitation agreement. If you have a new proposed plan, you can attach it to these forms.
It is always best to have an attorney review your paperwork prior to filing it with the court. You may also have access to advice from a family law facilitator.
In order to file your forms with the clerk, you will need to have two copies: one for you and one for the Court. A third copy will need to be served on the other party (the child’s other parent) once you have received your mediation date.
Once papers have been served on the other party, you’ll need to file a Proof of Personal Service form with the Court.
Both you and the other party will need to attend mediation. During mediation, you and the child’s other parent will attempt to work out a mediation agreement with the help of a trained mediator. If you are unable to do so, your case will go to Court.
If you do end up in court, a judge will determine whether a modification is necessary and create a new court order regarding child custody, similar to the way the initial custody and visitation order was created.
Child Custody and Modification of Orders Attorney in Orange County, California
As always, when it comes to your children and their best interests, it is never worth it to take a big risk. If you have concerns about the safety of your children, wish to protect their best interests, and need to modify an existing child custody and visitation order, it is best to discuss your situation with a qualified modification of child custody orders lawyer in California.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can Custody of Our Child be Modified After the Divorce is Finalized in OC California?
- 2 When Can I File for the Modification of a Child Custody Order in California?
- 3 How do I Modify a Child Custody and Visitation Order in California?
- 4 Child Custody and Modification of Orders Attorney in Orange County, California