As time passes after your divorce, you may want to change the custody and visitation order. California law allows for custody modifications as long as there is a change in circumstances and a new order is best for your children.
The way you change your custody order depends on whether the other parent agrees with you.
Modification by agreement or through the court
According to the California Courts, it is easy to modify a custody order when you and your ex-spouse are in agreement. All you need to do is fill out the forms, sign them and request for a judge to sign them. Generally, judges approve such agreements.
However, custody and visitation are often issues of contention. If your former spouse disagrees with the need for a change, you need to file documents with the court to request a modification. This process involves filling out forms, filing them, serving papers to the other parent and attending a court hearing. Mediation is sometimes necessary before the court hearing.
Change in circumstances
There are plenty of good reasons why custody orders need to change over time. As you and the other parent move on with your lives, there may be new jobs and partners. One of you may see your finances increase or decrease. Your children change as they get older too. Their interests, needs and activities are going to be different as the months and years go by. If your ex-spouse is in disagreement about changing the custody order, you must be able to provide proof of a change that warrants a modification.
This is educational information and does not serve as legal advice.