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When might a custody modification be necessary?

When people think about child custody issues, they often think first about securing the initial order. However, as most parents who already have a custody order in place likely know, other issues can arise years after that initial order is put in place.

For instance, if you have been complying with a custody and visitation arrangement for a few years now, it may be necessary to revisit your orders and perhaps modify them. 

When might modification be necessary?

Custody orders in California are generally in place for about three years before parents think about negotiating a new arrangement. Often, factors like lifestyle changes or preferences and needs of the child lead parents to seek a change in custody. 

However, even before that two- or three-year mark, parents may have reason to pursue modification. This can happen when there is a significant change in circumstances. For instance, if one parent moves away or if the child's needs change dramatically.

Understand that modifying an order for a short-lived or minor change may not be wise. It is typically in a child's best interests to have a stable living situation. Changing custody unnecessarily can ultimately do more harm than good.

Resolving modification issues out of court

Depending on the reason for the modification request, parents may agree that a change makes sense. In these cases, they can fill out court forms and sign an agreement. Barring any issues with the paperwork or the proposed arrangement, a judge will grant the modification.

Resolving modification issues in court

It's a different process if parents do not agree to modification. Under these circumstances, one person will file a request to change an existing order and cite the reason for modification. The reason will need to be a significant change that affects the best interests of your child. 

You may then have to go through mediation to attempt to resolve the issue before a court hearing.

Legal guidance for modification issues

Whether you and the other parent of your child agree to custody modification or not, it can be vital that you have legal representation. Not only can an attorney help your case move through the system more easily, he or she can also provide critical guidance to help you protect your parental rights and pursue a fair outcome.

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Evans Family Law
5150 E Pacific Coast Hwy
STE 200
Long Beach, CA 90804-3399

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