Kevin Qualls Family Law
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When can I modify child custody and parenting time?

It is both good news and bad news for Orange County parents that there is really no such thing as a permanent child custody and parenting time arrangement.

Because they understand that the best interests of a child can change over time along with the circumstances, California courts have a limited open door policy when it comes to parents who want to change their custody and parenting time orders, even if those orders were originally agreed to by both parents.

However, this does not mean a parent can just file for a change of law.com/Divorce-Family-Law/Child-Custody-Visitation.shtml">child custody or parenting time at will. Under California law, a parent has to show that there has been what the law calls a "significant change of circumstances" before a court will agree to change custody, even if the court may think upon further reflection that a particularly parent would be a better custodian for the child.

The reason for this requirement is that it is usually better for children not to get moved around from one parent's home to another or to experience other types of uncertainty in their relationships. It is balanced against the fact that, sometimes, circumstances do change, and when they do, courts can and should act to help children receive the best care and support possible.

The point is that a parent who feels that conditions have changed such that a custody and parenting time order is no longer best for his or her children has the legal option to try and change the order. Usually, it is best for parents wanting to do so to get the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

Source: California Courts, "Changing a Custody Order," accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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