Like many others in California, you probably consider raising your children one of your greatest achievements. Also like most parents, even though times are not always easy, you try to overcome any obstacles that arise and always want what’s best for your kids. If you’re divorced, it’s likely you and your former spouse have faced a challenge or two along the way with regard to developing and carrying out a new parenting plan.
Perhaps you finally came to a satisfactory agreement and the court approved your plans by issuing a formal decree. Not all court decisions are final with regard to child custody and visitation. There are several valid reasons a parent may seek a modification of a child custody agreement; knowing ahead of time what your rights are can help you better protect them should a problematic situation arise.
Would child custody modification be in your children’s best interests?
The court will not act in such ways as to undermine the children’s best interests. Therefore, if it has already voiced an official opinion with regard to your parenting situation, just reason must be shown to obtain a modification of that decision. One of the following reasons may apply:
- Imminent danger: No doubt one of your main goals as a parent is to keep your children safe. If you believe your children are in danger when they are with their other parent, you may bring the matter to the court’s immediate attention and request modification of your custody agreement.
- Non-compliance: It would be nice if all involved parties would perfectly adhere to an existing custody and visitation agreement, and both parents would always be willing to compromise and cooperate as necessary; in reality, many parents face problems when their counterparts refuse to adhere to the court’s orders. Seeking modification may be one way to rectify a particular situation.
- Change of residence or job status: If you or your former spouse changes jobs or has to move to a new location, it may affect your current child custody and visitation schedule. Sometimes, modification of an existing plan is all that’s needed to prevent further problems.
- Untimely death: Your children will obviously need to be with you full time if your former spouse has succumbed to an untimely death. Beyond the need for comfort and support in such tragic circumstances, the court would have to modify its orders regarding custody and visitation as well.
Whether you are the one seeking the modification of a court order, or you are being asked by your former spouse to agree to a new plan, navigating the system in such situations can be challenging, to say the least. Such topics are intensely personal and often evoke strong emotions on both sides. If a contentious situation is threatening your parental rights, stress levels are intensified.
Knowing where to turn for support is often half the battle. A good place to start is to discuss your problems with a California family law attorney who can provide sound counsel and aggressive representation as needed.