When a judge determines the child custody terms during your divorce or paternity action, you can't take what he or she is saying lightly. By order of the court you need to adhere to the child custody rules you were given. However, your child custody orders can be changed later on in life. This is only in very special situations, which occur when both parents agree that there needs to be a change or if a Judge in family court changes the existing order in a post-judgment modification. If a judge believes that there has been a material change of circumstances and that it would be in the best interests of the child to make changes, he or she may update and change the existing custody and visitation order.
If you need to change your custody rights, here's how it works. If both parents agree on the change, things will be a lot smoother when you or your family law attorney go the court to update the prior order. You will need to bring along a new written agreement that is presented to the court and signed by the judge. If you can't agree with your ex-spouse, then you may want to get an unbiased third party mediator involved. Whenever the parents cannot agree, the court will provide help by making a custody decision for you.
When you do reach a point in time where you want to alter the custody and visitation order, you will need to show the courts that there has been a material change in circumstances. If you fail to provide a viable reason, then your request will probably be a challenge. Viable reasons for an alteration are things like a parent who overcomes unemployment or a parent who wants to move away many miles away from the other parent or even move to another state, to name two examples of countless material changes that would be sufficient. If the judge determines the new circumstances are sufficient to hear the matter, he or she will then look at the facts to see what parenting plan would serve the children's best interests. Whenever you try and change your custody orders, you will want your family lawyer right there beside you every step of the way.
Contact an attorney at Claery & Hammond if you want dedicated representation in your California paternity, family law or divorce case.