Can I Change My Child Custody Arrangements?

Melinda and Josh had moved on, literally, after receiving their final divorce order. They each moved to new homes and both eventually started new relationships. Each parent developed new hobbies and interests they wanted their three children to enjoy. But they soon learned that changes in one divorced parent’s life can affect a child’s relationship with the other. Melinda and Josh found it more difficult to stick to their child custody arrangements but agreeing on new schedules seemed impossible. Like many other divorced parents, they needed to review and change their child custody arrangements.

How Child Custody Arrangements Are Arranged

During a divorce proceeding, parents prepare a parenting plan, which may also be called a custody and visitation agreement. Couples negotiate issues like where their children will live and how visits to the non-custodial parent will be handled. Generally, people should make sure their parenting plan:

  • Provides both parents with information about the children.
  • Allows both parents to call the children.
  • Allows both parents access to their children’s medical and school records.
  • Expects both parents to share their contact information.

Child custody arrangements contained in the parenting plan involve both physical custody and legal custody. 

Physical custody arrangements involve deciding:

  • Where the children will live
  • Where they will spend weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, birthdays, and other special days.
  • Which parent handles which activities.
  • Which parent is responsible for transporting the children or paying the costs of transportation.

Legal child custody arrangements concern dividing up child-related decision making between the parents.

Over time, the child custody arrangements set out in the initial parenting plan may no longer fit.

Adjustments Are Possible

Your child custody arrangements may not be set in stone, but a family court judge will have to review any suggested alterations. As always, the court will make the best interests of your children a top priority.

Either parent can ask a judge to change their custody and visitation order. If the parents agree on the changes to be made, they can tell the court they have an agreement when they ask the court to modify their order.

However, sometimes parents are unable to agree on modifications to their child custody arrangements. If so, one parent will ask the court for the changes. Both parents then may have to attend mediation to work out their differences, then ask the judge to approve their plan. If mediation does not help, then the judge will decide what’s best.

Child Custody Arrangements Are an Important Part of Your Post-Divorce Life

It is possible to alter your parenting plan to better suit your current life while still respecting your children’s needs. Child custody issues can be emotional and difficult to deal with unless you have legal representation.

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Diego, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.