Child custody decisions are always based on the best interest of the child. However, when child custody issues have been set, changes may arise. When a judge comes up with a child custody order, either parent may want to change the order. There are so many reasons why one may wish to modify child custody. Having the right information can help avoid many pitfalls that may result to your child custody order modification request being denied. Each state has its own ways of altering child custody, and California is not an exception.
How Do I Modify A Child Custody Agreement In California?
Issues surrounding child custody are not to be taken lightly. They prove to be one of the most contentious issues in any divorce. That’s why each spouse considers looking for lawyer in Chula Vista, which is the best way to ensure that your child’s interests are not put at risk. There are many reasons why a child custody order can be modified. They include:
- The custodial parent moving out of state, and they want to take the child with them.
- Change of job that requires one to relocate
- Change in child’s needs
- The child being in danger
- The death of a parent
- One parent failure to follow the existing child custody orders
Before deciding to have a child custody modification, parents should try to communicate and come up with an agreement where possible. In most cases, parents negotiate their parenting agreement maybe after three years or so. However, this is not always the case in a contested divorce. If this is the case and renegotiation is necessary, one parent must file papers in the court requesting modification of the current child custody order. If you have a legal representation when divorcing, it pays to talk to them before preparing to change your child custody order or before attending a court hearing. In any case, if you need a child custody modification, you have to consider the below points:
- You have to show that there has been a significant change since the final child custody order was made. The change in arrangements must be in the best interest of your child.
- The change must show that the children will have a stable child custody arrangement from both parents.
To avoid lots of issues, you can ask your mediator or lawyer to ensure there is no loophole to avoid being granted the modification. Once you are sure of the above, you need to ask for a court hearing to change your existing custody agreements.
Preparing For A Court Hearing
If you want to change a child custody order, you need to follow specific procedures unless the other parent has agreed to the change. It would be best if you have some paperwork prepared. Generally, you need the below steps for a successful child custody modification.
- Filling out the court forms (FormFL-300): To make sure you don’t leave any vital details, it’s better to seek legal advice. In your paperwork, make sure you give the right information about why you think the change is necessary. Some parents consider having a parenting plan proposal for the judge to consider their plan.
- Consider getting help from your lawyer by asking them to review your paperwork. The lawyer can make sure you have filled in all the relevant details.
- Make sure you fill the forms with the court clerk. You can make two copies of the form. You will be left with one copy, and the other will be sent to the other parent. The original one remains with the court. Remember, there is a fee paid for this. But one can request a fee waiver if unable to pay the fees.
- Get the court date
- Serve your spouse with the court papers. You can have someone serve the other parent at least 16 days before the court date.
- File your proof of service: This ensures that the server received the court documents. It’s essential to have them filled correctly.
- Attend your court hearing: In some cases, one may choose to have mediation before heading to court for a hearing. But if both parents don’t reach an agreement, they need to go for the court hearing with a copy of their papers.
Working Out The Child Custody Modification With A Lawyer
If you’re working with a lawyer, he/she will have probably advised you on attending orientation before having mediation. However, the court can also advise you accordingly. Once the judge makes a decision, your lawyer may be asked to prepare the order and have the judge sign. If not sure of what to do or the kind of paperwork needed, it’s prudent to speak with an experienced family lawyer in your state. Your lawyer can either give you legal advice for your entire case or have a limited scope representation.