Family Law Attorneys in Pasadena & Woodland Hills Guide Clients through Custody Modification
What you need to know about custody modifications
Custody arrangements, even when finalized as orders of the court, remain modifiable as the needs of the parties and the minor children change over time. As children grow, a custody agreement that was appropriate when they were young may no longer be appropriate, whether because of their preferences, their involvement in extracurricular activities, the relocation of one of the parents, or other factors.
When custody can be modified
Obtaining a modification of child custody orders require the party seeking modification to show, first that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, and second that the requested modification is in the best interest of the children. Once a change in circumstances is demonstrated, the court will look at the following factors, among many others, to determine what is in the best interests of the child or children:
- The child’s age
- The child’s health, safety and welfare
- Instances of domestic violence by either parent
- The distance of each party’s home from the children’s schools
- History of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent
- The child’s preference, based on level of maturity
- The nature and depth of the relationship between each party and the children
The court will consider the parents’ desires as well, but in ruling on a custody and visitation issue, the best interests of the children will be paramount. These are complicated issues. Our attorneys are experienced in these matters and can guide you through the process, fight for your rights where necessary and assist you in achieving a positive outcome.
A “move-away case” occurs when one parent moves away, rendering the existing custody arrangement impossible or impractical. Situations in which one party has primary custody and the other spends only minimal time with the children do not present too difficult issues. If the primary custodial parent moves, the children move with him or her and the other parent’s time with the children is adjusted accordingly. If the noncustodial parent moves, all that is needed is an adjustment of that parent’s time with the children as is necessary to accommodate the distance now separating such parent from the children.
The most difficult problems arise where the parties share physical custody equally or nearly equally and one party proposes to move away. In these situations, if the parties cannot agree, the court has to make the decision regarding whether the children will stay with the parent who remains or move away with the other parent. In many cases, the decision will rest with the parent who is most closely bonded with the children.
If you are involved in a move-away case, you need an experienced family law attorney
Our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience with complicated custody, visitation and child support cases. Trust our staff and extensive network of medical, mental health, educational and other professionals to educate you along the way and help you make the best decisions for your family. Steven A. Blunt is a certified family law specialist with experience in custody matters. Call 818-337-3595, contact us online or come in to our Pasadena or Woodland Hills office to discuss your case.