Even in normal (non-pandemic) circumstances, our lives can change so much from year to year. We can anticipate some of these changes, but life is mostly about adapting to changes. Those who have children with an ex understand the need for modifying one or more court orders that have to do with the children’s care. Children’s needs change, and parents sometimes aren’t able to provide the same level of support as they were when the order was originally finalized.
As a reminder, there are two types of child custody in California: legal and physical.
Either type of custody can be held solely by one parent or jointly between both parents. It’s common in California for one parent to have primary physical custody of children; the other parent usually has at least some visitation time. Parents with joint physical custody don’t always have exactly the exact same amount of time with their children.
Procedure for Changing a Family Court Order
If both parents do not agree on new custody arrangements, a petitioner in California uses Form FL-300 to change or request temporary emergency orders connected to child custody (in addition to child support, domestic violence orders, visitation, spousal support, and attorney’s fees). If you are the petitioner, be sure to make at least a few copies of the document. You’ll need to file it with the court clerk and have someone qualified serve your ex-spouse with the papers. Don’t do it yourself.
You should get your court date soon after submitting Form FL-300. Some petitioners are required to attend mediation before going to court for modifications. After your ex gets served with the papers, you will need to file Form FL-330 (Proof of Personal Service) with the court.
You Can’t Petition For a Change Just Because You Want To
Again, as long as you and the other parent agree on the modification, all you need to do is sign a few forms and submit it to the court for approval. If, however, your ex is fighting you on the change, you will need to prove that you have a good reason for petitioning. The law refers to these reasons as “significant changes in circumstances.” What could that look like?
You Need An Attorney
Well, you aren’t required by law to have an attorney represent you when you’re requesting a modification in California. Any judge or person with knowledge of the legal system would advise you to have one, though. There are many rules and complex requirements that an attorney knows about, but might not be apparent for everyone else. Anthoor Law Group represents Californians dealing with a diverse array of family law and estate planning matters. What can we do for you?
Call (510) 794-2887 or fill out the short form below. We will usually respond within 1 business day but often do so the same day. Don’t hesitate, your questions are welcome.
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