Just because you and your ex-spouse have a child custody order in place does not mean neither of you will ever be able to change it. If you currently have joint custody and want to change the order to obtain full custody, you can request a modification. However, if your ex-spouse does not agree to the change, as is usually the case, you will have to go to court and present your case to a judge. Some states have what is known as a “waiting period” before either parent pursue a modification of their child custody agreement. In California, waiting periods and other similar restrictions do not exist, which means parents can seek changes with fewer obstacles.
That said, changing a custody order is not easy, especially since the court generally favors stability in a child’s life and would view a drastic change in custody as a threat to that stability. However, there are some circumstances in which modifying a joint custody order to give a parent full custody is possible:
- Health and safety: If the child’s health and safety are at risk, this is generally seen as solid grounds to have a child custody order modified. For example, if a parent developed a substance abuse issue, this will directly impact the safety and welfare of a child, rendering the parent unfit to share custody.
- Poor co-parenting: When one parent tries to poison the other’s relationship with a child, or is unwilling to work with the other parent to nurture a healthy relationship between parent and child, this is often frowned upon by the court and will greatly factor into a decision regarding a change in custody.
- Best interests: If a parent is failing to adequately care for the child, making sure he or she gets to school on time and attends all scheduled medical or dental appointments, this would be seen as harming the child’s best interests.
- Child’s preference: California does not have an age cut-off, so a judge might consider the child’s preference. Of course, as a rule of thumb, the opinions of a child who is 7 years of age or younger will not be considered. Children who are between the ages of 8 and 12 are weighed carefully and, for those over the age of 12, a judge might defer to their preference as long as it is in their best interests.
Child Custody Attorneys in Granite Bay
If you would like to pursue a modification of your current child custody order, it is important to understand that this process is often quite difficult. With the assistance of a skilled family law attorney, however, you have a higher likelihood of achieving the desired result. At Myers Family Law in Granite Bay, we have decades of experience in helping families obtain the best results.
For the representation you deserve, contact our office today at (916) 634-0067 to schedule your low-cost 30-minute consultation.