When can you modify child custody in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2021 | family law | 0 comments

Court decrees always feel final. Fortunately, California judicial system understands that life can change unexpectedly, and the court may modify an existing court order if this is appropriate – especially if the matter involves a child.

If you and your child’s parent get divorced, but an existing custody order is no longer working for you, you may petition the court to modify the order. All you need to do is provide enough evidence that the modification you are requesting is in the best interest of your child.

Here are some of the reasons why you may want to petition the court for custody modification.

When the child is in danger

One of the valid reasons a court will modify custody is if the child is in danger. One key consideration is when there are incidents of domestic violence in the presence of the child. Domestic violence does not have to be directed at the child to warrant a change in the custody arrangement. A history of domestic violence poses danger to the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing. For this reason, the court may, in the child’s best interest, consider modifying the existing custody arrangement.

Passing on of a parent

When a parent dies, especially the custodial parent, this will certainly be reason enough for the court to modify custody. But who receives custody when the custodial parent dies? Well, here is a list of potential parties that can file for custody if following the death of the custodial parent:

  • The non-custodial parent
  • The child’s grandparents, aunts, cousins, uncles

Change in a parent’s situation

Another reason the court may be open to modifying custody is when either parent’s situation changes. This can be a positive or negative change. For instance, if a parent lost custody due to drug abuse and they sign up for addiction courses and provide proof that they have cleaned up, they can petition the court for custody modification.

Sometimes, life circumstances can require one or both parents to seek a modification of an existing custody arrangement. If this is something you are actively considering, it is important that you find out if your reasons are genuine enough to warrant custody modification.