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When to consider child custody modification

Once you finalize your divorce settlement, the terms outlined in the decree are not set in stone. While the terms created in the divorce settlement may work for you and your former spouse at the time the document was created, life circumstances can easily change. These changes may require a revision of the original divorce document. There are certain situations that may warrant a change in child custody and/or child support. Keep in mind that all factors involving child custody and child support are based on the best interests of the child. Changes can occur that alter what is best for the child, and as a result, you may want to file for a modification of child support and/or child custody orders. 

Some reasons why you may want to file for child custody modification may include the following:

  • The child is in danger due to violence in the home or some other reason

  • A parent is incarcerated and no longer able to care for the child

  • A parent moves a significant distance away, altering the child visitation schedule and/or custody arrangement

  • A parent is seriously injured or killed

  • A parent ignores the previously set child visitation schedule

  • A parent loses their job or finds a new job

According to California Courts, parents can renegotiate their child custody agreement every two and a half to three years. If both parents agree on the proposed changes, a modification can be made out of court. However, if both parents do not agree, they may have to appear in front of a judge. 

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.