The Role of Change in Circumstances
In family law, modifying a final court judgment regarding child custody and visitation is a significant step, and it requires a substantial change in circumstances. California courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions about child custody and visitation. Here are some key points to understand:
1. Change in Circumstances: To request a modification of a child custody or visitation order, you must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances that justifies the modification. This change must affect the child’s well-being or best interests. Some reasons a judge will allow a modification to a child custody order MAY include but are not limited to the following:
● Child’s needs have changed
● Child is in danger (physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse)
● One or both parents’ situations have changed
● The non-custodial parent’s work schedule changed
● The non-custodial parent moved closer to the other parent
● Child’s preference (the child wants to live with or spend more time with the non-custodial parent)
● One parent needs to relocate
● One parent is being irresponsible (not getting the child to school on time, abusing alcohol in front of the child, etc.)
● One parent refuses to follow the child custody order
Example: Suppose a parent with primary custody experiences a sudden change in their work schedule, making it impossible for them to fulfill their custodial responsibilities. This change in circumstances may warrant a modification of the custody arrangement.
2. Best Interests of the Child: California law prioritizes the child’s best interests when determining custody and visitation. Factors such as the child’s age, health, and emotional ties to each parent are considered. The court will assess which arrangement promotes the child’s well-being.
Example: If a child has developed a strong bond with the non-custodial parent and expresses a desire to spend more time with them, the court may consider this as a factor in modifying the visitation schedule.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal guidance on your case, please contact The Mines Law Firm for representation.