How do I change my custody, visitation, or support order?

Close Up of a Man's Hand Signing a form with a Pen

Most court orders cannot be modified. However, certain family law orders including custody, visitation, and support orders can be modified or adjusted. This is true whether the order is temporary or permanent.

Changing the actual order is the best way to go if you are dissatisfied with the current terms. Some divorced couples make oral agreements to alter their responsibilities and rights instead of making formal modifications. However, the court often will not recognize these oral agreements, and if you have not modified the order, you may be in violation of the law or unwittingly accrue significant financial obligations.

Modifications involve filing a legal request with the court. Typically, a request for modification must show that there has been sufficient change in the circumstances of your case. Here are some examples that may qualify.

In a child visitation case, the California Family Code seeks “frequent and continuing contact” with the children for both parents. If the custodial parent decides to move out of the San Luis Obispo area, it may prevent the other parent from visiting his / her children. As child visitation lawyers, Hosford & Hosford can request modification of the order to help you maintain contact, potentially by extending the time each parent gets with the children.

In a child custody case, the court may permit modification in several different scenarios.

  • As your children get older, they may decide that they want to spend more time with you or with the other parent.
  • Parents may have moved to live in the same city, making joint custody easier for both.
  • One of the parents may not be acting in the best interest of the child. Drug or alcohol abuse may qualify.
  • These are just a few examples.

In a spousal or child support case, California courts may grant a modification if your responsibilities or resources change. For example, you may be spending more time with your children if a custody arrangement changes, and this can increase your expenses. In another example, the other parent may begin earning more money in his / her career. Both situations may be used for a modification to an order.

Hosford & Hosford represents clients in these matters and can help you determine whether modification is likely in your case. Contact us at (805) 439-1906 or toll-free at (855) 675-4496.