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Modification of Child Custody

Posted on July 24th, 2015

When it comes to the modification of child custody, courts do not take this subject lightly. However, if the court believes that a modification is truly in the best interests of the children involved, they will not hesitate in modifying existing child custody orders.

In California, courts like to see both parents and play a significant role in their children’s life. Judges will do what they can to encourage and facilitate this so that it is as the closest end result as possible. If you are seeking a modification, the court will lean towards a decision that will accommodate this ideology. In reaching this conclusion, courts will give the benefit of the doubt to whichever party’s request will lead to the parents sharing equal time with their children. As such, if a modification of the current custody order will bring the court closer to their “goal,” then the requesting party has a better chance of their request being granted.

When seeking a modification, the moving party will have to show a “substantial change of circumstances.” A whole number of issues can manifest under the umbrella of those guidelines in any post-judgment case.

Some situations where a modification of child custody may be necessary:


  • Relocation of one of the parents: Most states, including California, have very strict regulations on where you can travel with the involved children. They almost all require the consent of the other party. When one parent moves, a modification in custody orders may be prudent to accommodate everyone.
  • Change in Marital Situation for One or Both Parents: When one parent re-marries, this could change the lifestyle of both parties, as well as the involved children. If this new marriage creates a burden in any way, or adversely affects the children, then a modification in custody may be in order.
  • Problems with Existing Orders: If the execution of the current custody orders is unduly burdensome on one of the parties, or especially if it is burdensome in any way on the children, could be grounds for a custody modification.
  • Wishes of the Involved Children: The court will always take into consideration the wishes of the involved children, as long as they are age-appropriate to articulate these wishes. The older the child, the more weight their preference will carry.

Even if your request falls under one of these situations, again, you will have to show a “substantial change in circumstances,” and that this will truly be in the best interests of the involved children.