To modify a permanent custody or visitation order, you must show a significant change in circumstances that affects the child’s welfare. As a result, the burden of proof falls on the party requesting the change.
To have any basis for this type of request, you must provide:
- evidence of changed circumstances
- demonstrable proof the modification is in the best interests of the child
The Meaning of “Changed Circumstances
Parents seeking a change in custody and visitation order often find the process frustrating as a result of the strict nature of the definition “changed circumstances.” Examples of changed circumstances include:
- change in the non-custodial parent’s work schedule
- relocation of the custodial parent
- frustration of visitation
- child’s preference
- improper consideration
Parents often believe they have grounds for requesting a change to a current custody or visitation order, when, in fact, they do not. Instead, they are dealing with what are considered natural issues arising from the complications associated with co-parenting. If you are not sure if you have grounds to request a custody modification, A People’s Choice can help you figure it out.
How to Request a Custody Modification
Before a judge modifies your custody or visitation order, you must make a formal request. In many cases, non-custodial parents may ask for more parenting (visitation) time instead of attempting to modify custody to keep things simpler.
First, file an FL 300 Request for Order (RFO) form. The most important part of the motion is your declaration. Writing a well-thought-out explanation is critical to a successful outcome of the motion. When you file the documents with the court, they will schedule a court hearing and often mediation. Then, you can move on to serving the opposing party.
Serve the opposing party with the following forms:
- Copies of all filed paperwork.
- A blank FL 320 Responsive Declaration to Request for Order
We can help you prepare the above-referenced forms for a flat fee.
What Happens After You File
As mentioned above, once you file a Request for Order, the court will schedule a date and time to attend mandatory mediation. The mediator will prepare a recommendation and submit a report to the judge. It is essential to understand that most judges simply adopt the mediator’s report and recommendation at the hearing. For this reason, what happens at mediation is usually critical in relation to the outcome of the case. Remember, however, you may be able to challenge the mediator’s report if you can show an improper recommendation.
Remember, filling out and filing the right forms and demonstrating the need for change to a current custody or visitation order is very important to the success of your motion. Above all, it is vital to present the facts and circumstances clearly and concisely. When you do this, you give yourself the best opportunity for the court to grant your request.
A People’s Choice places the highest priority on your parental rights and visitation. We have countless years of experience putting together the stories of our clients to present their situation to the court clearly and concisely. Most importantly, we know what facts the court is looking for, and this insight often makes a difference in the outcome. Contact us for more information on how to modify child custody and visitation in California. You can call us 7 days a week from 8 am to 8:30 pm at 805-648-5540. You will never incur a charge to discuss your situaton before you desire to hire our services.