Experienced Child Custody Modification Attorney in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties
Law Firm Specializing in Child Custody Modifications in Southern California
Many parents receive unfavorable child custody orders and wonder what, if anything, they can do about them. For some parents, life changes make it necessary to ask the family court to modify a prior order. As children grow older, their needs and interests oftentimes change and child custody and visitation arrangements may need to be modified accordingly. If you are seeking a modification of an existing order, an experienced child custody attorney at our law firm is here to help.
How do I Modify a Custody Order?
Modifying a court order requires more than mere dissatisfaction with its terms and obligations. The court will assume that the prior order is reasonable and in the child’s best interests. The following circumstances may provide a basis for modification:
- Both parents are in agreement about how to modify the order; or
- There has been a significant change in circumstances since the prior order was entered (Montenegro v. Diaz (2001) 26 Cal.4th 249).
Can I Change a Custody Agreement [Order] Without Going to Court?
The easiest way to modify a custody order is for the parents to communicate (co-parent) and agree to the changes and submit them to the court for review. If the parties are on speaking terms, which they should be as they are raising a child together, the parent seeking a modification can approach the other parent and see if a new agreement may be reached.
If the parties can agree upon the child custody and visitation modifications, they are free to enter into a stipulation which is then signed by a family court judge. This stipulation essentially becomes the new, legally enforceable child custody and visitation order, whether it provides for joint custody or sole custody to one parent.
This option is the simplest and most cost-effective option, and an experienced family law attorney can assist you in negotiating the terms of the modified order. Also, an attorney will know how to draft a comprehensive order that leaves no room for confusion and doesn’t leave any loopholes for the other party to exploit.
- Refer to our Free Child Custody and Visitation Agreement
What is Considered a Significant Change in Circumstance and How Does it Apply to My Child Custody Case?
If parents cannot agree on modifying a custody order, the parent seeking the modification will need to file a motion with the court to request it.
In modification proceedings, the goal is to convince the family court that since entry of the prior order, significant changes have taken place and require a new custody and visitation order. Courts are reluctant to modify their orders, since they were arrived at after careful consideration of the facts in the case and the California Family Code provides that children are entitled to a certain level of stability.
Examples of a “significant change in circumstances” which may justify a modification of child custody are:
- One or both of the parents have had a substantial change in their work schedules
- One parent has or wants to relocate, which will interfere with the current custodial arrangement
- The child has expressed a preference to change custody (if the child is old enough to voice a preference, depending on the child’s age and best interests)
- The safety, health, or well-being of the child is at risk (e.g. the child is exposed to domestic violence in one parent’s home)
- One or both parents have demonstrated an inability to provide for the child’s physical, mental, or emotional needs
- One or both parents have died
- One or both parents are abusing drugs or alcohol
- Criminal conviction or incarceration of one of the parents
- The child is being neglected or abused
- The custody order has been violated
Emergency Motion [Ex Parte Request] to Modify Child Custody Orders
Some of these circumstances may also demand immediate action. If there is evidence of abuse or neglect, you need to speak with an attorney immediately about filing an emergency motion with the family court to address it.
How Much Does a Custody Modification Cost in California?
A modification proceeding can range in price from essentially free, up to many thousands of dollars. The cost depends on many different factors, including, but not limited to, the complexity of issues to be adjudicated, the willingness of the parents to compromise and cooperate with each other, the history of the case, the number of potential witnesses involved, the number of children involved and their respective ages, etc.
We work with parents involved in disputes related to existing child custody orders. Our experience inside and outside of the courtroom allows us to consistently deliver exceptional results for the families we represent. Our custody attorneys are interested in finding tailored solutions to each family’s problems, using the facts and investigative tactics necessary to produce real-time solutions for our clients.
Our child custody attorneys will advise you every step of the way, so this confusing and frightening time of fighting for your child’s best interests becomes less challenging and more palatable from beginning to end.
If you anticipate a legal child custody battle is imminent in your life, it is important to know that an attorney can help you understand the process, so you can temper your anxiety about what’s to come. We can help get you there faster, so you can get your life back on track.
Contact Our Experienced California Child Custody Modification Attorney Now
Parents can rely on the experience of our child custody attorneys in modifying child custody orders, agreements, and judgments. Our Southern California family law firm fights hard to make the legal system work for our clients. We understand that it is often in the best interests of the child for the parents to come to an amicable stipulated agreement regarding custody or visitation modifications.
Call the experienced family law attorneys at Talkov Law at (951) 888-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation about your case. Learn how our experienced custody attorney, Colleen Sparks, can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.