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How Do You Change Custody/Visitation and Support Orders?

When two parents live separately but share a child, there are a lot of logistics that must be worked out in terms of making sure the child has financial support and in terms of making sure both parents have time with the child.  Usually, parents create a parenting plan or custody agreement during a divorce or a separation or when one parent petitions for custody. A standard formula is used to determine the amount of child support due, based on the terms of the custody arrangement.  girls-with-apples-1562514

At some point, however, you may need to change custody/visitation and support orders because your family circumstances may change. If you need to modify existing court orders, it is very important you follow the appropriate process for doing so to protect yourself and to protect your children. An Irvine family law attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with assistance seeking a modification to your child support and visitation orders to better reflect your new family circumstances.

How Do You Change Custody/Visitation and Support Orders?

If you believe that a change to your custody or visitation schedule needs to be made, you will first need to determine if both parents agree. If both parents recognize the current situation is not working out, you can submit a joint request to the court to make appropriate modifications to a new parenting plan. When you both agree on what is best, then the process of getting your existing custody order modified is simple.

Even if you both agree to a new custody arrangement, you absolutely should go through with the formal process of modifying your official court order. Only when a new agreement is put in place will you have legal protection in case the other parent later changes his or her mind and doesn’t want to stick with the plan you’ve created. Furthermore, you’ll need a new custody agreement in order to get your child support obligations modified.

If you want a change to the custody order but the other parent does not, you will need to petition the court yourself and request a modification. Courts like to promote stability for children, and usually will not want to consider a modification to a custody order unless at least two years have passed since the prior custody agreement was put into place. However, there are exceptions to this when circumstances change and when it is best for the child to modify the existing custody arrangement. If you can show a material change in circumstances, the court should think about making modifications.

If you are trying to convince the court to modify your custody order, you will need to show that it is in the best interests of the child to do so. You should be prepared to make solid arguments about why your preferred custody arrangement is better than the existing plan, especially if the other parent is arguing to keep things as they are.

Once a custody agreement has been legally changed, you can petition to have your child support order modified. The standard formula will be used to recalculate support obligations based on the terms of your new custody plan.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you to argue for your preferred custody arrangement and can help you to go through the process if you want to change custody/visitation and support orders. Call today to speak with our Irvine family law attorneys to learn more.