During your divorce, if you have children, child custody is likely at the front of your mind. As an involved parent, you probably want to see your children as much as possible. However, your former spouse may want the same. Because of this, it tends to take time and assistance to reach a full custody agreement.
Even if you take all the proper steps and plan carefully, at some point, the custody agreement you created at the time of your divorce may no longer meet your needs. When this happens, you must go back to court or to a mediator to request a modification. However, before taking this step, you need to fully understand how and when California courts are most likely to accept your modification request.
Securing a Post Judgment custody modification in California
To show the court that a custody modification is necessary, you must provide proof that you have had a significant change in your circumstances. Some examples of things that are considered significant changes and that may warrant a custody modification include:
- Changes to the child’s schedule, such as a new school
- Changes to a parent’s schedule, such as new job hours or location
- Safety issues for the child
Other factors that may impact modification requests include allegations of abuse or if one parent is unable to care for the child for a period of time.
Many things can affect your children’s schedules, safety and needs and serve as justification for modifying your original child custody agreement. Changes in parenting time that do not significantly impact the amount of time the child spends with each parent (for example, trading a Tuesday for a Wednesday), do not require a change of circumstances as it does not modify the custody order, only the parenting time.
Working with your spouse for a custody modification
Sometimes, it’s possible to get an uncontested modification. With this, you and your child’s other parent agree to the changes and sign off on the modification. This option is usually faster and cheaper than requiring a contested hearing to have changes made.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always how things work out and you may have to go to court to litigate the matter. If this happens, the judge will determine whether there has been a change of circumstances necessitating a change in custody.