When a family law judge in California issues a custody order, both parents must do their best to abide by that order. The document will outline how they divide parenting time and also how they will share decision-making authority for their children. Parents should cooperate with one another in accordance with the custody order.
Given that compromise is inevitable when effectively splitting the lives of your children between two households, it is common for both parents to feel disappointed with the terms included in their custody order or parenting plan. Sometimes, parents feel very strongly that the existing custody order does not meet their family’s needs.
When is it possible for parents in California to modify or update a parenting plan?
When they agree a change is necessary
Parents can file an uncontested modification request where they cooperate with each other. Typically, they will simply need to assert to the courts that the family circumstances have changed and that they have made adjustments to the custody arrangements to reflect what will work best for their family now.
Uncontested modification requests are subject to judicial review, they are usually straightforward and simple. Things become more complicated when parents do not agree about the changes.
When they show the change will benefit the children
If you want to seek a contested custody modification, you will typically need compelling grounds for making changes that your ex doesn’t agree are necessary. First, you need to have a valid reason to request the modification.
Examples of reasons to modify a custody order include:
- a change in schedules
- a change in the needs of the children
- major shifts in the parental relationships
- changes in the children’s preferences
- employment or schooling changes
- relocation requests by a parent pursuing an education or a career move
In any of these situations, a California family law judge may agree to hear a contested modification request and then enter a new custody order based on what they think will be best for the children.
Reviewing your situation to see if it meets the necessary standards could help you make timely changes to your existing custody order.