Jenkins P.C.

Can custody arrangements ever be changed?

Divorced parents often wonder if child custody orders can be changed once they have been created. While it is possible to modify a custody order, you cannot change a custody order simply because you do not like it.

It is usually best for children to have consistent custody arrangements, so you or your ex-spouse must have experienced a significant change in circumstances to change your custody order. Also, that change in circumstances must affect the current custody order, making it no longer in the best interests of your child.

When might child custody modification be necessary?

The best interests of your child should have determined the original custody order, and the best interests of your child also determine when it is appropriate to modify your custody arrangement. Children’s needs and activities change as they grow up, so it may be appropriate to modify a custody arrangement every few years.

However, other situations that may warrant changes, include:

  • A parent is moving
  • A parent’s work schedule is changing
  • The existing custody schedule is not being followed
  • A parent’s house has become dangerous

How can I modify a custody order?

If you and your ex-spouse agree on the changes, you can make those changes legal by using an agreement. However, if your ex-spouse does not agree to the changes, you must ask the court for a modification to your custody order, and you and your ex-spouse may need to attend mediation.

Because life is always changing, California law allows modifications to child custody orders. However, children benefit from consistency, so not all life changes merit modifications to custody orders.

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