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HOW DO I CHANGE MY CUSTODY/VISITATION AND SUPPORT ORDERS? Know Your Legal Rights and Obligations to Avoid Facing Penalties and Consequences When You Require a Change to Either How Custody is Shared or the Amount of Child Support that Must Be Paid

TERENCE DANIEL DOYLE, ESQ.


If you are divorced or living separately from someone with whom you are raising a child, you likely have both a custody order and a support order in place. These orders are issued by a court and are legally binding. You must pay the child support as required by the court order or can face penalties and consequences including the loss of a professional license or driver’s license or even jail time. Both parents also must comply with a custody agreement and neither can deprive the other parent of seeing the child according to the terms of the custody order. In some cases, however, the

In order to have changes made to an existing custody order and/or support order, you will need to either convince the other parent that such a change is appropriate or you will need to convince the court that such a modification is the right choice for a child.

standing court orders on custody and child support will stop working for the family members involved. You may require a change to either how custody is shared or the amount of child support that must be paid. When a modification to the original court orders becomes necessary or is desired, there is a

How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders? ď‚— Doyle Golde Grossman Family Law Group

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specific legal process that must be followed. An experienced divorce and family law attorney can provide invaluable assistance in getting a custody/visitation and support order modified, but you should also understand your legal rights and obligations.

HOW TO GET A CUSTODY/VISITATION AND SUPPORT ORDER CHANGED In order to have changes made to an existing custody order and/or support order, you will need to either convince the other parent that such a change is appropriate or you will need to convince the court that such a modification is the right choice for a child. If both parents can agree on a change to the custody and visitation orders, then the parents can petition the court together to make an alteration to the agreement. You should have the court formally approve this change, rather than just making a verbal agreement or

In order to convince the court that a change in either custody or support is appropriate, you will need to demonstrate a material change in circumstance. For example, to modify the amount of support owed, you would need to show that there was a sudden change in income; a job lost; or a substantial change in the amount that it costs to provide care for the child. ●

making the alteration to how much you pay and when you see the children. Having the official court order changed protects you in case the other parent changes his or her mind in the future or in case the other parent later disputes the fact that he or she agreed to the modification. When the court makes the change based on both

How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders?  Doyle Golde Grossman Family Law Group

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parties agreeing and making the request, this process is a stipulation and order. If the two parents do not agree on a change, then the parent who is seeking the modification to the custody and support order will need to make a motion to the court. A hearing will be scheduled and each parent will have the opportunity to argue for and against a modification of the court orders that are currently in effect.

ARGUING FOR A MODIFICATION TO SUPPORT ORDERS OR VISITATION AGREEMENTS In order to convince the court that a change in either custody or support is appropriate, you will need to demonstrate a material change in circumstance. For example, to modify the amount of support owed, you would need to show that there was a sudden change in income; a job lost; or a substantial change in the amount that it costs to provide care for the child. In order to modify a custody or visitation agreement, you will need to show that circumstances have changed since the initial custody agreement was put into effect. You will also need to prove that a

How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders? ď‚— Doyle Golde Grossman Family Law Group

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modification to the existing arrangement is in the best interests of the child. For example, if one parent is no longer able to safely care for the child because he has developed a drinking problem, this would be an example of a situation where a change in the custody order would be appropriate because it is in the child’s best interests. The parent seeking the change in the existing agreement has the burden of proving to the court why modification is appropriate. Courts typically will be reluctant to make changes unless at least two years have passed since an original custody arrangement. Courts may also be more receptive to making a change to a custody agreement that was originally developed by the two parents working together outside of court, rather than to making a change to an agreement that was already litigated. This is because the first court already heard evidence from both parents on the child’s best interests, and the court will not modify the decision made by the original court unless there has been some change in circumstances that has altered the calculation of what is best for the child. Custody disputes and dispute related to child support are often contentious and stressful since so much is at stake. Both the parent seeking a modification in the custody or support order and a parent who is seeking to maintain the status quo should be represented by a qualified and experienced legal professional who can argue for their position in family court.

How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders? ď‚— Doyle Golde Grossman Family Law Group

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About the Author Terence Daniel Doyle Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq. is the founder of the Family Law Group, Danville CA. Terence Daniel Doyle brings a powerful background and a strong skill set to the firm. He is one of only 1100 attorneys in the state of California to hold the unique standing of Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) from the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. In addition to family law, his areas of practice include civil litigation, as well as estate planning and taxation. Mr. Doyle established the firm in 1984, and maintains a strong vision for the law group and its clients. Terence Doyle’s greatest strength is his ability to apply his knowledge of case law to his client’s particular situation, and then devising a strategy which produces the best possible outcome. Mr. Doyle is a member of the State Bar in the states of California, Arizona and Hawaii. He holds his law degree from Golden Gate University, with a B.A. in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College of California. He is a Danville California native where he resides with his family.

Doyle Golde & Grossman Family Law Group www.familylawgroup.com 571 Hartz Avenue Danville, CA 94526 (925) 314-2320

How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders?  Doyle Golde Grossman Family Law Group

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How Do I Change My Custody/Visitation and Support Orders?