What to Expect from the California Child Custody Modification Process
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 a few changes in circumstances which may warrant a custody modification under California law. In this post I will be discussing what the process of asking for a child custody modification looks like and how a parent can prepare themselves.
San Diego Family Court Judges may consider modifying custody if enough time has passed since your last custodial order
The Courts understand that as children grow older and that the parents’ lives change as well as the child’s needs. San Diego Family Court Judges will often consider a long passage of time, in and of itself, to be sufficiently changed circumstances which justify modifying an order. There are two ways in which a parent can formally have the custody order changed. First, if both parents agree on the changes needed, they can submit a joint document to the Court requesting the change. In this circumstance, it is unnecessary to prove a “change in circumstance” as neither parent is disputing the issue. When both parents agree on the modification then the change will be signed off on and little hassle is involved.
If the parents are unable to agree on what the changed arrangement should look like then one parent has to file a Motion with the Court. The requesting parent will use the Motion to to explain what circumstances have changed and why a modification is in the child’s best interest. These forms will be filed with the Court Clerk and a hearing date will be provided. The other parent will be served with papers informing them of your modification request and they will be given the opportunity to respond to your request. In the opposition the other parent will be able to explain why they disagree with your request to modify the current custody order. At the Court hearing the Judge will listen to both sides’ requests and will make a determination. Prior to the Court hearing both parents also have the opportunity to work out their differences through mediation.
Hiring an attorney helps to ensure that all steps of the modification request process are handled correctly
Requesting a modification to the custody order requires a great deal of paperwork. Parents have access to all necessary documents online. However, if the paperwork is not filled out, filed, and served to the other side correctly then your request may either be dismissed entirely or delayed. Hiring an attorney makes sure that your request will be heard as quickly as possible, and that your request is written in a way that will appeal to the Judge. When emotions are involved, many San Diego parents tend to write inappropriate reasons for their requests, or include unnecessary details on their forms. Your family law attorney will ensure that your documents provide you with the best chance possible of winning your request.
Contact our lawyers today if you would like to begin the process of asking the Court for a child custody modification.