Altering an existing custody agreement can seem like a daunting task, but there are many benefits to doing so. Sometimes, modifications are necessary to meet everyone’s needs and goals. The rewards can far outweigh the effort required to change your custody agreement.
Here is an exploration of several reasons why it may be time to consider altering your current custody agreement.
There are Changes in Family Dynamics
Drastic changes in the family structure often call for child custody modifications.
- There have been changes in work schedules or living arrangements.
- One parent has remarried and introduced a new stepparent into the mix.
- One parent now lives closer to other relatives, increasing their support system.
A Parent Moves Further Away
Moving out of state is a common reason for many parents to alter their custody agreements. Clearly, this distance creates an inability for parents to see their children more often.
Before initiating a modification request, consider factors such as:
- The reason for the move
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The potential impact on the child's education and social life
Moving out of state can be exciting, but it's important to prioritize your children's well-being throughout the process.
Significant Changes in Income
Modification may be necessary when your income changes, whether you make much more or much less than before. Your finances have a major impact on your ability to provide.
When you experience financial hardship, adjusting custody arrangements can help meet the child's basic needs. You may need less time with the children to get back on your feet, and you may not be in a good position to provide for someone else.
Conversely, if you experience a major increase in income, you can provide more financial support for the child. This will allow you to take on a larger role in their upbringing.
Changes in Your Relationship to the Child
Custody orders attempt to reach a fair agreement between both parents, but circumstances change over time. When your relationship with your child significantly alters, you should consider a custody modification.
Growing closer to a child can lead to increased parenting time. Unfortunately, parents and children can also grow more distant, which may require a reduction in the time they spend together.
The Child Is Physically or Emotionally Unsafe
The most urgent reason to alter child custody is when they are in a dangerous environment. You should waste no time in these situations and plead for a modification right away.
Common reasons for modifying custody in these situations include:
- Domestic abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Substance abuse
- Neglectful behavior
In this scenario, you need evidence of the danger and legal representation. You must prioritize the safety of your child above all else.
Modifying Your Child Custody Agreement in California
- Set up a consultation with an experienced attorney. They can review your case and determine whether you have grounds for modification.
- Gather evidence to support your request. This includes documentation of a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued.
- File a Request for Order (RFO) with the court that issued the original custody order. Make sure to explain why you are seeking modification.
- Once the hearing is confirmed, serve the other parent a copy of the RFO and a notice of hearing.
- Attend a hearing.Here, the court will review the evidence and decide on whether to modify the custody agreement.
Working with an experienced family law attorney is always helpful when modifying a child custody agreement in California. Samra Dhillon & Associates can advise you on the legal requirements, help you gather evidence, and represent you in court. We want to make sure that your rights and the best interests of your children are protected. For a free consultation, call us today at (916) 571-1550 or contact us online.