Change in Circumstances Warrants a Change to a San Diego Child Custody Order
This is the next post in my series discussing how San Diego residents can modify an existing California child custody order. My last post discussed when it is appropriate to file for an emergency change in custody. In this post I will talk about what circumstances will justify bringing a request to modify child custody.
A San Diego parent wishing to modify child custody must show that circumstances have changed since the last Court Order
A child custody order cannot be changed, after it is entered, just because one parent does not like the outcome. A “change of circumstance” must occur for California Courts to entertain the idea of modifying the status quo. This change in circumstance may either be positive or negative, and may be a reflection of either the parent or the child’s circumstances.
For example, a parent may have been denied joint custody if they did not have a living environment large enough to accommodate a child. If the parent acquires a larger residence then the change in living environment would warrant a request for a bigger percentage of custody. Another example would be a parent who was denied joint custody due to work hours which did not allow them to spend time with the child. If that parent gains a new schedule then such is a legitimate change in circumstance. It is also common for a parent to move closer to where the parent with primary custody resides. This would mean that joint custody is possible as the child can live with both parents but still be in one school zone. These are all examples of common circumstances that a San Diego Family Court Judge will routinely consider when looking at a request to modify the custody arrangement.
California Family Court Judge’s are more likely to modify custody at the child’s request as a child grows older
California Family Court Judges are more and more likely to take into consideration what the child wants as he or she gets older. As a child enters into teenage years then the Court is likely to consider a child’s request to change custody, even if nothing particularly dramatic has occurred. It is not uncommon for a teenager to wish to move in with the opposite parent. Sometimes it is because something has occurred such as the current custodial parent remarrying or strained relations between the custodial parent and child. Other times it is simply because the child wishes to spend more time with the other parent or wants a change in living situation. The Court is unlikely to object to the child’s wishes in such cases unless one parent has a legitimate argument against the arrangement.
If you have experienced a change in circumstances, or your teenager wishes to request a custody modification, then the process can be either simple or a contentious. This will depend on the other parent’s opinions. Contact our San Diego office today to begin the process.