Overview of Child Custody Modification Laws in California
There are instances when sudden changes and unexpected events require a parent to seek a modification to their child custody and visitation agreement. If you find yourself in this situation, it is extremely important to have an experienced and knowledgeable Novato child custody lawyer on your side who is capable of advocating for the modification and can properly advise you of your legal rights and options.
Requirements to Modify a Child Custody Agreement in California
If you are seeking to modify a child custody agreement in California, you need to request a court hearing. The only exception is if the other parent voluntarily agrees to the modification. If the other parent objects to the modification, a court will need to get involved.
To request a custody modification, you need to complete a Request for Order (Form FL-300), which is otherwise known as a motion. This form includes a section where you provide a detailed plan on how you are planning to stay involved in your child’s life, including scheduled visits and continued child support. Additionally, you will need provide an explanation as to why this modification is necessary. Your explanation on why the modification is necessary is arguably the most important aspect of requesting the modification. Why? Because in most cases, your testimony at a court hearing is fairly limited. As a result, a judge will rely largely on your written explanation.
When you are done filling out your Request for Order (Form FL 300), you need to take the following steps:
- Make two copies of the Form FL 300
- File the original with the Clerk of Court
- Request a hearing from the court
- Serve a copy of the modification documents on the other parent
- File proof of service
- Make sure to attend the court hearing
Reasons Why You May Need to Modify a Child Custody Order
It is possible to seek a modification of a child custody order at any time. Some of the most commonly cited reasons to seek a modification of a child custody order include:
- You need to relocate due to a change in employment
- The non-custodial parent is placing the child in a dangerous or harmful environment
- The non-custodial parent’s religious practices are harming the child
- The custodial parent is intentionally denying the non-custodial parent rightful contact and visitation with the child
Legal Basis to Seek a Modification of a Child Custody Agreement
When you are seeking to modify a child custody order, you need to have legal grounds to do so. In order to request the modification, you need to show there has been a “change in circumstances” subsequent to the original custody order.
A “change in circumstances” means there was a significant, material change in circumstances that necessitates a modification to the child custody and visitation agreement for the best interest of the child.
Involved in a Custody Dispute ? Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced California Family Attorney
If you are contemplating filing for divorce, or are in the process of getting divorced, and need help assessing your rights pertaining to child custody, Castro Law Offices is ready and able to help. We are a premier law firm specializing divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning California family law.
Castro Law Offices is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.