Modifying A Court Order When Family Circumstances Change

After the court issues an order regarding child custody or financial support, the judge still has jurisdiction over your case. The law recognizes that circumstances change over time, and what might work well the day a judge signs your order may not work so well in the future. The court holds onto the right to make changes when needed, but only in certain circumstances.

At Goforth Family Law & Mediation, I help clients who are facing a change in circumstances with their family law orders in San Diego County and surrounding areas. Whether you are seeking the change or your former spouse or partner is the one making the request, I can guide you through the process, advocating for your best interests. As a lawyer certified by the California State Board of Legal Specialization as a legal specialist in the area of family law, I understand the law and the requirements needed for such changes.

Changes To Custody And Parenting Time Orders

There are many reasons you may need to change a custody arrangement or parenting time order. One of the most difficult is when one parent moves to another city or state after a divorce. In order to make the change, the court will look at whether there has been a “significant change” in circumstances. They want to give children stability, so they will not change the order without good reason and only do so if it is in the child’s best interest. If the judge decides that a change is warranted, they will sign a new order.

Changes To Financial Support

Modifying a child support order also requires a significant change in circumstances. These changes may relate to:

All of these factors affect how child support is calculated in California. A slight change in any of these may not warrant a modification, but a significant change might. Be aware that the paying parent is still obligated to make the court-ordered payments until the court issues a new order, even if that parent is no longer employed.

Modification to spousal support, or alimony, can be more complicated. Some types of spousal support come with certain requirements or conditions, such as attempting to become self-sufficient through education or work. The paying spouse may allege the receiving spouse has failed to meet those conditions. The paying spouse can also argue a significant change in circumstances, such as a loss of income.

Do You Need Help With Enforcement?

In some circumstances, you agree with the order, but your spouse is not complying with it. Whether you need help enforcing a custody arrangement or a financial support order, the situation can be very frustrating. You have options, however. You may need to go back to the negotiating table or request help from the police. In extreme cases, you may need to file with the court. I can help you determine what type of intervention might work best in your situation with the least amount of disruption for your child.

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