Custody And Support Modification Attorneys Serving Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, CA
As a divorce is being finalized and custody, visitation, and support orders are being put in place, these orders are made based on what is ideal for the family at the time. Life circumstances change, however, especially as children grow older and new opportunities arise. For this reason, is it common for parents to seek a modification of their existing arrangements.
Navigating this process can be complicated though, full of paperwork, mediations, and court hearings. Seeking assistance from an experienced custody and support modification attorney can help alleviate some of the stress and confusion, ensuring a quick and easy modification process. At Wine Country Family Law, P.C., we work alongside parents to change their custody and support orders to better fit both their lifestyle and the wellbeing of their children. We are here to help. Consider scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney at (707) 669-0841 today.
Custody and Support Modification in California
In California, it is possible to change existing custody or support orders. There are a variety of reasons why either parent may wish to change the pre-existing agreements. As life goes on after a divorce, and as children get older, lifestyle changes may necessitate a revisit of the custody and support orders. New circumstances may arise, ranging from new jobs to new residences, and agreements can be modified to better serve all parties involved.
California Family Code Section 3087 states that an order for joint custody may be modified, or even terminated, if one or both of the parents can demonstrate that the change would be in the childrens’ best interests. If either parent opposes the changes, then the court shall make a judgment, keeping the interests of the children at the forefront of the decision.
The parent who is seeking the modification must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances. Generally, this is because the courts do not like to disrupt the stability of the children and would prefer the status quo. If the changes can be shown to benefit the children, however, the modification can be granted.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have helped numerous parents modify their existing custody, visitation, and support agreements. Through this work, we have identified the most frequently asked questions, which include:
How Do I Begin the Process of Modifying a Custody or Support Order?
To start the process of modifying a custody order or a support order, you must file a motion with the court asking for a change. In the paperwork, you will be asked to detail your reasons for seeking the modification and state why the order is necessary and will benefit the children. If you wish to propose a new custody, visitation, or support arrangement, then you can provide that in the documentation as well.
After filing the necessary paperwork, you will be given a date to appear in court. In some cases, you may be directed to attend a mediation before the court date, but this is not applicable in all situations. You will then arrange to serve the papers to the other parent, file a proof of service, and wait to attend the court or mediation date.
This process can be quite complicated and failing to present the necessary documentation or file the required paperwork at the right time can prolong it greatly. An experienced custody and support modification attorney at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. can help you navigate this process and avoid common pitfalls along the way.
I Want to Move with My Children. Can I Modify My Custody and Visitation Agreement to Accommodate My Relocation?
Relocation is a common reason why one parent may wish to alter their custody and visitation agreement. For parents who have joint custody, the process of moving can be complicated by court orders. In a joint custody agreement, both parents have the right to continuous and frequent contact with the children. If either parent deprives the other of this right, violating the court-ordered custody and visitation arrangement, then they may be punished for being in contempt of court.
As such, it is possible to change a custody and visitation agreement to accommodate relocation. To do so, however, the parent who is moving must receive approval from their co-parent or must file a petition with the court stating that the relocation – as well as the new custody arrangement – is in the best interests of the children. Seeking assistance from a custody and support modification attorney experienced in “move-away” cases can be valuable, as modifying court orders to accommodate relocation is legally complex.
I Have Been Served with Papers in a Modification Case. What Should I Do Next?
If you have been served with papers in a modification case (called a “Request for Order”), it is critical to fully review the papers and ensure that you understand the implications. Moreover, check to see if any temporary orders have been put in place, such as temporary restraining orders. Failure to read and acknowledge the papers can have legal consequences if you do not respond appropriately. The requesting party must serve you with papers at least 16 days before you are required to appear before the court or attend mediation. In emergency situations, an Ex Parte Request for Orders can be requested when there is not enough time for a standard motion. As such, check the papers to see what your next steps are.
After being served with papers, you have a few options:
- Respond to the papers. This ensures that you can take part in the case and have a say in the outcome.
- Ignore the papers. In selecting this option, the modification process will likely proceed without your input.
How Can Custody and Support Modification Attorneys at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. Help?
Life is full of expected changes, and it can become necessary to modify custody and support agreements to account for new circumstances. Our team of skilled and compassionate custody, support, and modification attorneys help parents navigate the process, ensuring compliance with court procedures and California law. For more information regarding how we can help, consider contacting our office today at (707) 669-0841.