Yes, you can modify a California child custody agreement if circumstances dictate it. Even if both parents agree to the adjustment, a judge still needs to sign off on it to make it official. As the years pass, original custody agreements don’t always fit anymore, and a modification might be necessary.
When Can You Modify a Child Custody Agreement in California?
If there has been a substantial change in circumstances for a child or a parent, you can petition the court to modify the custody arrangement. Remember that the court’s top priority is always what’s going to be in the best interest of the child, not your convenience or lifestyle. In the State of California, to modify a child custody order, you must present supporting evidence to prove that a modification is in your child’s interests.
What Are “Substantial Changes”?
California judges are most likely to consider the following to be substantial enough to merit modifying an existing child custody order:
- The main custodial parent has permitted another person to step in as the actual caretaker for several months.
- If there is a drastic drop in the child’s school performance and they need to switch schools. Likewise, if a child was too young for school when the original custody order was set and is now starting school, this might also be grounds to change the custody.
- If a parent moves out of the area
- If a parent gets arrested or incarcerated
- If a parent starts living with a third party, especially if that person is a known criminal or has alcohol/drug use issues.
We can assess your situation and advise whether your circumstances might warrant a modification petition.
Looking for a Manhattan Beach Custody Attorney?
Furubotten Law has brought our experience and family law knowledge to many child custody cases. To see how a Manhattan Beach custody attorney can help you, set up a free consultation with us today.