From pursuing a new career or housing opportunities to providing for your children’s changing educational and activity needs, there are many reasons you and your co-parent may want to revisit your original custody and visitation order.
In California, the process for changing your current parenting plan may depend on whether you and your co-parent can agree to the change and what your reasons are for requesting custody modification.
Creating a new plan by agreement
If you and your co-parent are on the same page about changes, you may be able to make modifications without going to court. To do so, you and your co-parent may complete and file specific forms with the county court documenting requested alterations. If the judge approves the changes, your new agreement becomes legally binding.
Requesting modification when your co-parent disagrees
If you and your co-parent do not agree about the need for modification, you may need to petition the court to alter a custody arrangement. However, to gain approval from a judge, you may need to prove that there have been significant and ongoing changes in your own life, your children’s lives and/or your co-parent’s life that justify modification.
Taking advantage of mediation services
In California, if you and your ex have a dispute about changing your custody order, you may have to attend mediation as part of the modification process.
However, even if you and your former co-parent agree about changes, consulting with a family law mediator may help. In addition to facilitating clear communication between you and your co-parent, a mediator may be able to identify potential areas of conflict and suggest creative solutions to help you and your children find a better path forward in your post-separation lives.