The process for modifying a child custody order varies depending on whether or not the parents can come to an agreement regarding the change. A modification of custody or visitation orders can be sought after at any point. There are times as children grow up when they need or want different things; at these times, parents can seek to renegotiate certain parts of the court orders. If this is the case, they can make the change by filing an agreement. Some examples of this would be a parent's work schedule changing or a parent moving between cities or into a different county. If there is a change to the need of a parent when it comes to taking care of the child, a modification may be necessary.
There are also instances where the child's preference changes or a parent is acting irresponsibly, in which case the court may need to reconsider the court order. In a situation where parents do not agree on the change, one parent will file a request for a modification of the custody orders with the court. Oftentimes, before appearing for a hearing in court, the parents must take part in a mediation to discuss the reasoning for the change. The key to receiving a modification is to show the court that there is a change in the circumstances in the life of the child or the parents since the court made the original custody order. The court generally bases decisions on what is the best interest of the child so providing evidence that the interests of the child have changed is important.
The logistical process for filing for a modification entails the following steps:
- Fill out the necessary forms
- Have a lawyer or family law facilitator review the forms to ensure accuracy
- Make copies of all forms (at least two)
- File the forms with the court
Obtain a court date
- A mediation date can also be given if that is a necessary step
Serve the other parent with the papers
- Someone other than the parent filing must serve the other parent
- File a proof of service that the papers were served to the other parent
- Attend the hearing and mediation
The judge will make a decision at the hearing and a new court order will be signed accordingly. It is imperative to have the guidance of a competent Mission Viejo divorce lawyer when going through this process. If you are looking to modify your child custody order, one of your first steps should be to contact The Hunter Law Group to get the legal counsel of an experienced attorney on your side. The amount of legal forms and instructions that must be followed can be overwhelming. Our firm has handled custody modification cases for almost a decade and we are familiar with the entire process. To get started, just go online and fill out a free case evaluation form to see how we may be able to help.