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Reasons To Request a Child Custody Modification

Remarkably, you’ve gone through the heartache of a divorce and managed to come up with a parenting plan that you and the other parent were able to work with. Nevertheless, you are now down the road and your lives have changed significantly. Child custody modifications are often needed as your child grows. The custody arrangement that a 2-year-old requires will be different from what a 12-year-old requires. Have you thought of getting a child custody modification? This may be in the best interest of your children and the rest of the family.

What Is a Child Custody Modification?

A child custody modification is a motion filed with the court to update or change a previous order. It helps add or give up parenting time or decision-making depending on your situation. For example, if a parent is moving out of state and can no longer co-parent 50/50 a modification can change the parenting time, and sometimes even the child support order will need to change as well. The process of a child custody modification is not always the same, it takes a lot of time for an attorney to prepare for a hearing or for someone who is representing themselves.

When Should You Request One

You can request child custody modifications any time after your initial court order unless it’s within 14 days of the order then in that case it would be more likely to file a Motion to Reconsider. If there has been a Motion to Modify filed in the past it is required that you wait 2 years before you can file a Motion to Modify again. However, this requirement may be nullified under emergency measures. The changes must be significant enough that you would need to alter the initial order.

  • Did a parent find a new job?
  • Did the child start a new school in a new neighborhood?
  • Are there new family members in the home?
  • Does a parent have substance abuse, restraining order, domestic violence matters that are causing the children harm or distress?


Abide By The Agreement

Sometimes these changes can be made through agreement from both parents. If both parents agree on custody and visitation then the judge will most likely approve the parenting plan. However, if the parents can’t agree they get referred to mediation where a mediator tries to help the parents agree on a custody plan. If the parents still can’t come to an agreement during mediation, then they will meet with a judge to discuss the case. Courts cannot deny your right to custody or visitation just because you were never married to the other parent, or because you or the other parent has a physical disability, or a different, or minority lifestyle, religious belief, or sexual preference. The judge may ask for witnesses and proof where he will then decide on the parenting plan.

“Child custody modifications can often occur by agreement, but if one parent requests to move a significant distance away from the other parent court intervention is often required to determine which parent will have primary physical custody over the child/children. For process, Santa Clara court website says: California law says that Judges must keep the ‘best interest’ of your children in mind when deciding on custody.”  Nathalie Gachot, California Senior Attorney

We Can Help You

Approaching this type of situation can be difficult. At Modern Family Law we offer one free consultation with our attorney, during that consultation the attorney will help you decide whether it is necessary to file a motion with the court. Just like any judge of the family court, attorneys also keep your child’s best interest in mind and can help you navigate through the court system.

Lisa Acevedo

Posted August 05, 2021

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