Certain orders are modifiable by the California courts after a final judgment has been made. The most common areas for post-judgment modification of orders include child custody/visitation orders, child support orders, and spousal support orders. (For more information, see Modification of Orders and Modification of Support)
You may seek a modification of child custody and visitation orders at any time.
When Can You File for a Modification of Child Custody Orders?
You may seek a modification of child custody and visitation orders at any time. The court may find a visitation and/or child custody order modification “necessary or proper” if it’s in the child’s best interest [Ca Fam § 3022]. The parent who seeks the child custody modification will need to show the court a “significant change of circumstances” to support the modification request.
As a practical matter, many parents seek to change custody and have their request granted without showing a significant change of circumstances, or they or their attorneys create such a change of circumstances to justify their request.
Some Common Reasons for Seeking a Change of Custody Include:
- The non-custodial parent’s work schedule changed
- The non-custodial parent moved closer to the other parent
- Child’s preference-the child desired to live with or spend more time with the non-custodial parent
- One parent is being an irresponsible parent-not getting child to school on time or doing poorly in school, substance abuse issues, etc.
- A parent seeks relocation outside of the geographic area where the child has resided, called a “move away case”
If you believe that your child should be spending more time with you and less with the other parent, consult with your attorney to explore your options.