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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Family > Modifications Of Support And Custody Orders In California: What Should You Know?

Modifications Of Support And Custody Orders In California: What Should You Know?


After you have gone through a child custody case or a complicated divorce in San Jose involving spousal support and child support, it can be difficult to think about having to return to court in order to modify an existing order. Yet circumstances can change unexpectedly, and it may be necessary to modify an existing child custody order or an existing support order. For example, a parent might be asked to take a new professional position in another city in California or outside the state, necessitating a relocation and a change in child custody. Or, for instance, a party who pays spousal support or child support might lose a job and be unable to continue making support payments in the same amount. Whether your court order was entered recently or a number of years ago, you may have a need to modify it.

Modifications of existing court orders are possible under California law, and our San Jose family lawyers want to provide you with more information about modifications and how they work.

Modifications of Child Custody Orders in California 

According to the California Courts, there are many reasons that parents can seek to modify a child custody order. For example, as we noted above, a relocation due to work might be necessary, or a parent might have experienced a significant shift change at work resulting in an entirely different schedule. In other cases, the child’s experiences and needs may have changed. For example, the child might have started a new after-school or recreational activity, or may have other specific needs.

If the parents are able to reach an agreement about modifying the existing child custody order, they can enter into an agreement that can ultimately become the new court order. However, when the parents cannot reach an agreement about a modification, or in circumstances where one of the parents is markedly opposed to a modification, then the parent seeking the modification will need to ask the court to grant the modification.

In circumstances where the parents cannot agree and the parent seeking the modification of a final custody determination must petition the court, that parent seeking the modification must show a “change in circumstances” has occurred that necessitates the modification. Further, the parent seeking the modification will need to be able to prove that the modification is in the best interest of the child or children.

Modifying Support Orders 

Similar to the reasons for asking the court to modify child custody and visitation, in order to modify a spousal support or child support order, the party seeking the modification must be able to show that a change in circumstances has occurred. With support, the change in circumstances could be a loss of income or an increase in income. Some spousal support orders indicate that they are not subject to modification, however, in which case modification will not be possible.

Child support orders can always be modified when a significant change in circumstances has occurred. With child support in particular, if one of the parents receives a promotion that comes with a significantly higher income, or a parent takes a pay cut or loses a job, the child support obligation will likely change.

Contact a San Jose Family Lawyer Today 

If you have questions or concerns about modifying an existing family law court order, such as a child custody or support order, you should seek advice from one of the experienced San Jose family law attorneys at Foster Hsu for more information.





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