Can Child Custody Agreements Be Changed in California?

Working out your child custody agreement when you divorce is one of the most critical parts of finalizing your case. Of course, working with a skilled and experienced Fresno family lawyer will always help to get this done successfully and ensure you account for all the most likely challenges and scenarios the first time.

That said, life changes, and down the road, a situation usually arises that addresses issues not in your original custody agreement, and you must request a modification. First, you must know that child custody modifications can be made, but legalities must be adhered to, and the court must usually always modify the agreement in writing.

If the changes you must make are mainly minor, and you agree on what must be done, this is usually a relatively simple process. In a case like this, working with your knowledgeable child custody lawyer, you must complete the appropriate forms and have them signed by both parties.

However, if the situation is more contentious, and you and your ex-spouse disagree, you must petition the court for a hearing. Even if you both usually have a positive working relationship, you may disagree that the proposed modification is in your child’s best interests. In such a case, you and your lawyer must make a solid legal argument to get the judge to approve the proposed modification.

So, each child custody modification case differs, but whatever the circumstances may be, working with an experienced child custody lawyer will ensure that you have all the necessary supporting facts, arguments, and documentation before proposing it to the court. So, although revising a child custody agreement can be done, it is usually not easy; the help of a skilled, empathetic, and diligent child custody lawyer will always help ensure you make your case concisely and successfully for the benefit of you and your child.

What Are Some Of The Usual Reasons the Court Will Grant a Child Custody Modification?

In California, there are specific reasons that the court will concede that a revision to your current child custody agreement should be made.

Some court orders made by the California courts may be modified even after a final judgment has been mandated. These post-judgment modification orders commonly include the revision of child custody or visitation orders, child support, and spousal support orders.

More of these valid reasons to revise your child custody agreement are;

  • Your child’s needs may have significantly changed.
  • Your child is in physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological danger or abuse.
  • Either you or your ex-spouse’s situation has changed.
  • The non-custodial parent’s job or job schedule has been altered.
  • The non-custodial parent moved closer and may be more readily available.
  • Your child has grown older and they wish to live with or spend more time with either parent.
  • You or your ex-spouse must relocate.
  • Either of you is acting irresponsibly, such as neglecting to get your child to school on time, abusing alcohol or drugs in the presence of your child, or more.
  • One of you is not following the current child custody order.
  • And more…

The reasons are numerous, but they must be valid and, if necessary, provable in court. Therefore, even if the matter is simple, the help of a qualified, experienced Fresno child custody lawyer is mandatory.

How Do I Know When I Need to File a Legal Revised Custody Agreement?

You should know that under current California, a custody and visitation agreement (aka a parenting plan) is a mutually agreed upon agreement between you and your ex-spouse that dictates all the various aspects of co-parenting, such as physical custody, appropriate schedules, distribution of responsibilities regarding schooling, and more. Initially, when you divorce and your child custody agreement gets approved by the court, it becomes legally binding. It provides you and your ex-spouse legal grounds to hold the other accountable.

When significant changes occur in either of your lives, or one of you is not adhering to the court order, you can (and usually should) seek a modification of your original child custody agreement.
Another vital thing you should know is that the California courts will always side with what’s in the best interests of your child; therefore, when you file for a revision, you also must show (and at times prove) that the modification requested is in the best interests of your child.

Only you (or your ex-spouse) will know when this legal step is necessary, but a revision can occur until your child turns 18. You and your skilled lawyer will request modification with all pertinent documentation needed, and if the court agrees it’s in your child’s best interests, it will most likely be granted.

Are There Other Things That Could Affect My Child Custody Arrangement?

Over time, many things can change in your life, especially in today’s vibrant and mobile society and workplace. However, revisions of child custody agreements are usually made when these changes are significant and critically affect your and your child’s lives.

That said, other outside circumstances can affect your custody agreement, such as;

  • Your plans and wishes as a parent change. The courts always try to consider the wishes of each parent. So, when your life changes, you still want to maintain what’s in your child’s best interests.
  • Your child gets older, and their wishes change -The courts consider your parent/child relationship in a profoundly severe manner. So, if the requested changes help foster that relationship, the court will likely agree.
  • Allegations & instances of abuse or neglect – The court will not only consider any actual incidents of abuse or neglect when it comes to changing your child custody agreement. Even a simple allegation of neglect or abuse may be grounds for a change.

Myriad factors may weigh into the court’s decision to change your custody agreement, but consulting with a professional Fresno child custody lawyer is the best way to plan to help yourself and your child.

I Need Advice on Changing My Child Custody Agreement/How Should I Proceed?

It may have been years since you and your partner split, but your children will always be at the center of your life. No matter the circumstances, their future and well-being can still be in your hands with the right legal advice. The Fresno child custody lawyers at The Bains Law Offices are skilled, empathetic, and knowledgeable in altering child custody agreements and helping concerned parents through the complexity of these cases. Call them today at (559) 282-8924, and they will help you navigate this dire process so that you can ensure your child’s future health, happiness, and success.