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What to Do When You Want to Change a Child Custody Agreement in California

Posted on: April 4, 2018

What to Do When You Want to Change a Child Custody Agreement in California

Making changes to a child visitation schedule can be fairly simple in many cases, but when it comes to making changes to primary custody, the situation can get more complicated. One of the things the court will look at when deciding whether or not to grant the custody change is what’s in the best interest of the child. In many cases, the court will decide that the child having continuity and stability is in their best interest. As a result, they may not want to make significant changes to child custody.

Stability will the tie breaker in most cases

Assuming that the court feels that both parents are equally capable, they’re likely to use stability as their tie-breaker. This means that they’re likely to keep custody with the parent who’s most recently had custody. However, if there is some reason that both parents aren’t equally capable then the court may be willing to change the custody agreement. They may also see reason to do so if the child’s relationship with their parents have changed, if their health has changed, or if the educational needs of the child has changed.

The non-custodial parent has an extra burden

In the case that a child has been stable in the current custodial agreement for a significant amount of time, the non-custodial parent that wants custody has the burden of proving that there is a reason for them to get it. They must prove that it’s in the child’s best interest, despite the stability factor. The courts will also likely consider the role of the change of circumstances standard, which holds that making a serious change in the child’s life is in their best interest. Does this mean it’s impossible? No – but we highly recommend contacting a family law attorney to get a realistic idea of your options.

California judges are unlikely to separate siblings

If your child has siblings, whether full or half, you should know that the public policy in California includes keeping siblings together whenever possible. Unless there is a compelling, extraordinary reason to split up siblings, the courts are very unlikely to do so. They must consider the advantages of a child having bonds with their siblings.

Work with an experienced attorney if you’re fighting a custody change

If you want to request a change in your current custody agreement then the first thing you need to do is to work with an experienced lawyer. At Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP, we have the experience you need to ensure you have the best shot. When you call us at 909-482-1422, we’ll begin by setting up a consultation. During that consultation, we can offer our advice and our opinion on the likely outcome of your request for a custody change. You can count on us to be honest and forthright with you at every step of the process.

Kristina Kendall-Gkikas
Kendall & Gkikas LLP
143 N. Harvard Avenue, 2nd Floor
Claremont, CA, 91711 USA
909-482-1422