Can Child Custody Orders Be Changed?

Because life changes are unpredictable, child custody orders are always modifiable. The parties cannot validly contract with each other that they will not seek to modify or change the child custody arrangement in the future. The divorce court always retains jurisdiction to change child custody orders. The team at Minyard Morris has decades of experience assisting parents with post-divorce custody modification issues.

Generally, the divorce court will only modify “final” child custody orders if there is a showing of a substantial change in circumstances between the date of the existing order and the hearing. If the order is not final, the divorce court may base its decision relative to a modification on the best interests of the child. Additionally, the parties cannot bind the family law court to follow a specific standard of review at future custody hearings.

Examples Of A Change Of Circumstances

Examples of circumstances that may warrant a modification of child custody order may include the following:

  • Child’s preference and age
  • Parent’s work schedule
  • Move away (relocation)
  • Poor parenting/negligence
  • Child abuse
  • False allegations of abuse
  • Allegations of domestic violence
  • Interference with parent/child relationship (alienation)
  • School-related issues

When One Parent Decides To Change Residences

If one parent makes the decision to move away and change the residence of the child, a modification to any existing child custody orders will be necessary. A divorce court must make an order that the child will live primarily with the moving parent or primarily with the nonmoving parent. Generally, there is a high burden on a parent with a low percentage time share who is attempting to modify child custody orders and relocate with the child to a new geographic area.

Contact Us Today

Whether you are seeking a modification or attempting to prevent one, Minyard Morris will help you strategically analyze the best legal course of action for you. Schedule an appointment by calling our office in Newport Beach at 949-652-2770 or contacting us online.