When parents in California separate, they will usually work together to come to a suitable custody agreement that fits the best interests of the children. However, as the years go by and situations change, the child custody agreement may need to be amended. For example, if one parent relocates or if there’s a change in living arrangements, the existing child custody agreement may no longer be suitable. Parents may need to go back to court to get a child custody order changed. Here are a few steps parents can take to get a child custody agreement amended.
If changes are needed to an existing agreement, both parents will need to agree on the changes. If both parents agree, they can make the revisions, submit the revised agreement to the court and the judge will usually accept it. This greatly reduces the expenses and time of amending a custody order.
However, if parents cannot agree on the changes, the matter will need to go to court. If this happens, the next step is to file a petition to modify the existing child custody order. Before doing this, decide on the exact changes that are needed and be specific. Also, make sure to prepare before appearing in court, have arguments ready and make sure any important documents are on hand.
Even if parents are unable to come to a suitable agreement, there are still ways to avoid court. Parents in this situation may want to consider mediation or arbitration, which will allow parents to negotiate a mutually accepted agreement. The laws surrounding child custody and modifying child custody agreements can be confusing. Those in California who have questions or want to change an existing child custody order may want to consider discussions with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.