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Child Custody

How Do I Modify a Child Custody Agreement in California?

Modifying a court-ordered child custody arrangement can sometimes be necessary in California, but it is critical that parents understand the modification process before taking action. If you need to modify a custody or visitation order, the first step is to file a request for modification with the court in a Request for Order. This request outlines why modification of the child custody order is necessary and must include reasons consistent with California law.

Once filed, a hearing may be scheduled to determine if modification should be approved by the court, so it's important that parents prepare beforehand. In San Diego, before your Court hearing you will be required to go to Court ordered Mediation/FCS/Family Court Services. For a FREE ebook with guidance and pointers on the extremely important FCS/Mediation


Is It Time to Modify Your Custody/Visitation Order?

The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for reflection and goal-setting. Many of us make resolutions to improve ourselves in some way, whether it be quitting smoking, getting in shape, or learning a new skill. In some cases, our resolutions may be for the betterment of our families and/or lives in general.

With the ringing in of this new year, parents may be considering whether their goal for the year should be to change their parenting schedule (or custody/visitation time). Making sure your family’s custody and visitation arrangement is best serving you and your family is important.

Thus, keeping an eye on changes in the lives of everyone involved can help you make informed decisions about when it might be time to revisit what was outlined in your original agreement. Over time, your or your child’s lives may change, or other circumstances may require adjustments be made to ensure that things stay equitable for both parties, as well as keeping kids' best interests first and foremost.

It's important to know what changes in circumstances might warrant modifying a prior custodial or visitation order. Below, we will explore some potential reasons you may consider modifying your arrangement as well as steps to take in filing for a post-judgment modification.

Reasons Why Parents Consider Modifying Custody/Visitation Arrangements

Modifying a custody and/or visitation arrangement is a difficult decision that should not be taken lightly. This is an important issue that can have serious implications for both the parents and the children, and it requires careful consideration of everyone involved. It’s vital to fully understand the rights of all parties before proceeding with any changes and to consult with legal professionals knowledgeable in family law.

While you can file for modification at any time, it is important to note that you must have a valid reason for requesting a modification. The court will consider your reasoning, with the child’s best interest and the significance of the change in circumstances.

A modification of child custody/visitation arrangements may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Changes in employment or residence of either or both parents
  • Significant change in parental behavior or attitude
  • Conflict between the parents that interferes with visitations
  • Medical, mental health, or substance abuse issues in either parent
  • The child’s changing needs as they grow and develop
  • Abusive or neglectful home environment for the child

For help preparing the filing, preparing for the very important court ordered FCS mediation and for the hearing, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. For a FREE ebook with guidance and pointers on the extremely important FCS/Mediation


A qualified attorney can help you complete the paperwork correctly and can advise you concerning what evidence and reasoning for the modification are acceptable to the court.

Consult with Our Firm

At The Law Offices of Andrea Schneider, our attorney has over 30 years of legal experience and is known for her compassion and dedication to excellence. If you or a loved one feel like significant changes in your life necessitate a modification of your custody/visitation arrangement, you can trust our firm with the case.

Our firm serves La Mesa, San Diego, and the surrounding communities. Once you retain our services, our attorney can review your case and advise of your next steps. Attorney Schneider can also help you prepare the modification request forms and collect evidence to support your claims.

Known for working tirelessly to help our clients achieve the best possible case results, we offer affordable legal services, and we take a client-centered approach to our cases. Because of this approach, clients receive personalized attention and solutions that are tailored to meet your case goals.

Download Our Free E-Book

Learn more about how we can help you with your child custody/visitation filing or modification request. Call (619) 304-8499 or reach out online today to schedule a case evaluation today.