As life moves on post-divorce or family law case, it's not uncommon for court orders to become outdated. If you or another party involved in a court order experience a substantial change in circumstances, then filing an order modification case can help you modify the terms of court-ordered child support or custody to suit your needs.
At Feinberg & Waller, APC, our current Calabasas modifications attorneys have over 150 years of combined legal experience helping clients modify court orders.
Modifying Child Custody
When it comes to modification of a custody order, the Court may consider changing a custody order if you can provide evidence that your circumstances have significantly changed in such a way that it now makes sense for you to see your child more often. Because the Court values stability and consistency so highly, you must be able to demonstrate a significant change in circumstances first, before being allowed to present evidence as to what is best for your child.
You might be able to make the case that there were circumstances in your life that were not considered in the first place and that justify a modification of the custody order. Moving closer to your child is an example of a circumstance that might allow a court to consider modifying earlier rulings on custody. Or maybe you have a new work schedule that allows you to spend more time with your children, or the child him/herself has requested to spend more time with you.
You could also work to modify your custody order with evidence showing that your ex-spouse has failed to provide for the welfare of your child. If your ex has, for example, encouraged your child to engage in harmful behavior, such as truancy or drug use, a court would deem new custody arrangements as being fully justified.
What Is a Court Order Modification?
Filing an order modification case enables you to adjust the terms of a currently existing court order, making upholding said order more manageable for one or both parties.
- File an agreed modification. Suppose you and the other party agree an order needs to be modified and concur on how to modify it. In that case, you can draft an agreement (with the help of attorneys or a mediator) detailing how you'd like to change the order. If a court approves the proposed modifications, it can sign the agreement, finalizing your case.
- File a contested modification. If you and the other party disagree about modifying an order, you need to file an order modification case with the court. Both parties must appear in court. After hearing evidence from each party, the court will decide whether to modify the existing agreement.
Why Would I File for a Modification of Child Support or Child Custody?
Generally, people file for an order modification due to one of the following reasons:
- One of the parties loses their job or experiences a substantial change in income, making the income amount listed in the court order irrelevant to the current circumstances of one or both parties;
- One party becomes incarcerated;
- A party remarries;
- A party becomes involved in another court order;
- If a child is involved, their needs have changed, and a new support or custody order may suit them better;
- State law mandates using different factors to calculate spousal or child support.
If you're considering filing for an order modification, a Calabasas modifications attorney can help you determine whether to proceed with your case (and the best way to do so).
Modifying a Family Law Order in California
The process of filing a family law order - whether it be a custody or spousal/child support order - is fairly similar. Most order modifications require the party seeking a modification to take the following steps:
- Fill out order modification forms. These will detail the type of order you want to modify and your reasoning for filing the order. You can work with a modifications attorney to fill out the paperwork.
- File a modification case with the court. A court clerk can take the forms from you and give you a court date for your case.
- Serve the other party with a copy of the modifications order. A third party must complete the service.
- File proof of service with the court. These forms confirm that the other party is aware of the case.
- Attend a hearing. How your hearing goes depends on whether you and the other party agree on how to modify the order. If so, you can present your agreement to the court. Otherwise, the judge will hear the details of your case and decide whether to modify your order or not.
Although the process of filing for many types of order modifications is similar, the details may change depending on what type of order you want to modify. For example, if you want to modify a child support order, California Child Support Services (LCSA) may play an active role in the modification case.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Custody or Child Support Modification?
Have you received a less-than-favorable custody or support ruling? Don't lose heart! Remember that a court’s rulings are often not set in stone. With the right legal help, you may be able to challenge and modify the custody ruling.
At Feinberg & Waller, APC, our Calabasas modifications lawyers have over 150 years of combined legal experience helping navigate child custody and child support modification in California.
Schedule a consultation with our team! Contact us online or via phone
at (866) 463-3852. With offices in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, and Westlake Village, our custody and child support modification attorneys are here to help.
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