California family law recognizes that family circumstances once warranting a child custody order are subject to change. Accordingly, California child custody arrangements can be modified if the parent requesting modification can show that there has been a material change in circumstances. A material change in circumstances is described as something that alters the conditions of the child’s life. It must be significant enough to persuade the court to believe that the original decision is no longer in the child’s best interests.
Child Custody and the Law
California family court’s decide custody for children based on different factors. One initial consideration will be the child’s relationship with each parent. A family court judge assesses the ability and desire of each parent to provide that child with the best home possible. The family court sets a custody agreement that becomes legally binding and permanent in order to create stability for the child. Both parents must abide by the order, until a modification is filed and granted.
Family court in California carefully considers the initial decision. For that reason, they aren’t just going to change the custody decision simply because you are not happy with the original custody order. In most cases, the family court judge will only change an order if there is new and relevant information. This information would need to be significant enough that it could change the original assessment of what is best for the child. This new information is considered a material change in circumstances. There are several different examples of a material change in circumstances including:
- The other parent moves-in an unsavory and unsafe individual into the family home.
- A parent who wants to move out of state with the child to be closer to his or her family or for a new job or promotion.
- One parent becoming unfit to care for the child for some reason. Common issues include drug or alcohol addiction.
- One parent is now ready to care for the child. This situation can happen when the parent overcomes issues that may have caused them loss of custody such as addiction or other problems.
There are other reasons that may fall under a material change of circumstances warranting modification of child custody. Speak with a California family law attorney to get legal advice based on your specific family dynamics.
Getting Legal Assistance for Your Child Custody Case
When you seek modification of a child custody, you will need to submit to the court the appropriate documents with details of a material change of circumstances. The court will also need you to provide evidence necessary to prove that a change is being made, that the change is material and that the change should require a modification of custody. Hiring a child custody attorney can be helpful in successfully arguing these points and obtaining what is in the best interest for your child.