Your existing child custody order was likely drafted and approved according to your, your children’s other parent, and your children’s circumstances at the time. Now, your situations might have changed, and the stipulations are getting more difficult to adhere to. You may be wondering whether it’s time to update your current custody order and how you can do that. If your children’s needs have changed, your children are in danger, or you or your children’s other parent have moved or changed work schedules, a modification may be necessary. You and your children’s other parent can agree on a new arrangement and have it signed by a judge, or you may need to go to court to modify the order.
If you need help creating or modifying child custody arrangements in San Diego, schedule a consultation with a member of the Claery & Hammond, LLP team by calling (619) 567-6704 or submitting an online contact form today.
When a Modification May Be Necessary
Your custody order may provide stipulations concerning your and your children’s other parent’s decision-making responsibilities, who your children live with, and visitation rights. At the time, the arrangement worked for you and your children’s other parent but may no longer be practical.
It may be time to modify your existing order if:
- Your children’s lifestyle has changed: There are several reasons your children’s needs have changed. They might have started attending school, had a change in their school schedule, or picked up some extracurriculars.
- Your or your children’s other parent’s situation has changed: One of you might have moved or gotten a job with a different shift. The changes may make it difficult for you to maintain contact with your children according to the existing order.
- Your children are in danger: Their other parent might have become abusive or started abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Or they may have begun a relationship with someone who is putting your children in harm’s way.
- Your children’s other parent is not complying with the existing order: Your children’s other parent might not be adhering to the provisions of the order by doing things such as refusing to allow visitation.
Do You Have to Go to Court to Change a Custody Order?
A substantial change in circumstances may warrant an updated custody order. If the current arrangement is no longer practical, you may seek to change visitation or custody.
Whether you have to have a judge decide on modifying your existing order depends on your situation. If you and your children’s other parent can agree on the changes, you may be able to write a new arrangement. You must submit your agreement to the court for review and approval for it to be a legally enforceable document.
You and your children’s other parent may disagree about the custody modification. In that case, one of you would need to submit a motion to the court to have a judge decide.
Courts are concerned with ensuring that children have stable and consistent environments. They are reluctant to update an existing custody order unless there has been a significant change in circumstances. When you present your case to the court, you must demonstrate that your family’s situation warrants a modification and that updating the order would be in the best interests of your children.
Have an Attorney Help with Your Case
Although you may be able to ask for a custody order modification on your own, if your situation is complex, you may need a family law attorney to guide you through your case. They can explain what the courts consider when determining whether to approve a modification and can help you gather the support you need to justify the change.
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we understand the importance of parents having consistent contact with their children. We also recognize that children need stable and safe environments to grow up in. That is why we provide clients in San Diego with compassionate and dedicated legal representation through the post judgment modification process.
To learn how we may be able to protect the best interests of you and your children, call us at (619) 567-6704 or contact us online today.