Child custody is an agreement that may require significant modification after a divorce agreement has been negotiated. Whether you arranged child custody through a contested or uncontested divorce, unexpected circumstances may call for a change to your custody arrangements. When this occurs, you have two options: negotiate new terms with your spouse outside of court or petition the court to enforce a modification.
If you are considering taking action to modify the custody arrangement of your divorce, contact Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC. I am a skilled family law attorney in Orange County who has more than 25 years of experience helping families resolve their legal issues. As a board-certified family law specialist, I may help you get informed about your legal options and provide dedicated representation in a court proceeding or mediation session.
Reasons to Seek Child Custody Modifications
Changes to the lifestyles and day-to-day schedule of one or both parents often cause conflicts in custody arrangements. If changes in your life have made it difficult to work within the child custody agreement, you may negotiate a modification that adequately fits those changes. When circumstances prevent you from having fair custody of your child, legal action may be taken to modify your custody arrangements.
Parents seek custody modifications for many different reasons, such as:
- Child is experiencing problems at school or at home
- Parent changes his or her work schedule
- Parent relocates or moves out of the area
- Parent has a chemical or alcohol dependency issue
How can I get my custody orders changed?
In order to modify your child custody orders from the court, you will need to demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original orders were issued. You must show that it is in the best interests of your child to change the orders. There is no time constraint when pursuing a modification - the court can take action any time it is discovered that modification is "necessary or proper" (Ca Fam § 3022).
Some common reasons for custody modification may include, but are not limited to:
- Your child expresses a desire to spend more time with a parent
- One parent is demonstrably and consistently irresponsible in the care of the child
- One parent is moving to a difficult geographical location
- One parent is working more or less
- One parent is demonstrated to be abusive or violent
Consider Modifying Custody Arrangements Outside of Court
Like other modifications, making changes to a child custody agreement can be petitioned to the court and decided through court procedures. However, unless you have no other options, it is best to avoid petitioning the court for custody modifications. Court-ordered custody modifications have several downsides and may even pose some risks. These problems include the following:
- Expenses from court fees and attorney fees
- Lengthy and taxing court procedures
- Leaving the modification decision to a judge
Even when there are clear grounds for a modification, an ill-prepared case in court may result in a modification being denied or enforced in such a way that does not see to the interests of you and your children. When possible, it is best to seek alternative methods of resolving custody modifications outside of court. There are several methods that couples may take advantage of, including collaborative divorce and mediation.
Dedicated to Family Law Since 1993
My name is Kevin B. Gibbs, and I have been working as an Orange County child custody lawyer for more than two decades. In 2001, I was certified by the State Bar's Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist, which is a process that requires extensive experience and completion of a written exam. I have dedicated my career to family law, so I encourage you to let me put that experience to work for you and your family.
"I used Mr. Gibbs for my divorce. He was great, very knowledgeable and professional! He was excellent at letting me know the options I had and pointing me in the best direction. He was upfront and honest about outcomes. I was very happy with his service."Joshua Lott
"I could not have asked for a better experience in the midst of a bad situation than working with Mr. Gibbs. He was honest and fair and patient and kind."Rebecca Sterling
"He is a great family law attorney and I would definitely recommend him to a friend or family member in need."Les D.