If you want to change an existing court order in family law, you can request a modification before or after a judgment is entered. Our attorneys can help you file for a modification of child custody or visitation, child support, or spousal support. We can advise you on what types of orders can be modified in California family law cases.
Child custody and visitation can be modified in cases such as divorce, legal separation, domestic violence, or paternity. The court considers the child’s age, maturity level, grades, responsibility level, special needs, and reasons for the desired custody order. When the child is 14 years old or older, the court must make provisions to allow the child to express their wishes to the court.
Child support can be modified if there is a change in income, disability, job loss or gain, new employment, cost of living, or changes in the child’s living situation. Our attorneys can provide a compelling argument to the court as to why a change in custody or support is necessary.
The term “modification” simply means that a previous court order was made and now one of the parties is asking the court to make changes to that court order. A family law modification can be requested for any of the following case types:
What Types of Orders can be Modified?
Not all orders are modifiable in a California family law case, especially once a final judgment has been entered. The most common types of family law cases that are modified include child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support. However, there are exceptions to this rule and would require the help of a skilled attorney to advise you.
Modification of Child Custody or Visitation
The Child Support Guidelines of California employ each parent's income, withholdings, deductions, and parenting time to determine child support payments. You have the right to request a change of the child support agreement when new circumstances affect the initial computation.
The parents may explain any proposed revisions and submit them to the court for approval before a new child support order is issued. If the parents cannot agree on any suggested alterations, they must attend a hearing, present facts and arguments, and the court or commissioner will make a determination.
There's several occasions in which you might wish to seek child support modifications, including but not limited to:
Loss of work
Additional or new employment
A rise or reduction in either parent's income
Variation in family size
A parent gets incapacitated
Military service deployment on active duty
It is the court’s philosophy that children have a right to spend significant time with each parent. For this reason, once a child custody order is made, it is difficult to change. Some of the reasons a child custody order may be modified are:
Wishes of the child
As a parent, you recognize that what is best for your child may not always be what he or she wants.
In Riverside County, courts have established procedures for allowing a child’s voice to be heard. This includes such things as an expert, or even the judge, interviews your child to determine what he or she wants and why.
Whether or not the court will follow the wishes of the child depends upon a number of factors, these include, but are not limited to:
The court must make provisions to allow a child who is age 14 or older to express his or her wishes to the court. This is no guarantee the court will follow the child’s wishes. The court will weigh the child’s reasons for wanting to change against the child’s need to know and spend time with each parent.
Do I Need an Attorney for File for a Modification of Child Custody?
Your child is an investment. Why would you gamble on your child’s future by scrimping on attorney fees? If you want to maximize your chances of modification custody, it is essential that you hire competent counsel. For more information as to how to change custody, please call our office for a consultation.
Child Support Modification Request
Sometimes, a child support order can be modified simply because it is too old. Child support orders do not include a cost of living increase. Over time, each parent’s incomes will increase and orders made several years ago will need to be readjusted periodically. If you believe that you qualify for a modification of child support, please call our office so we can help.