One of the most common questions in Family Law is whether a child custody order is “permanent”.
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While court orders have many designations from “minute”, “emergency”,. “Temporary”, and Afinal”, such terms have more to do with legal questions than duration. As a matter of fact, while orders may be “temporary”. If the parties never return to court to change them. They have a degree of permanence that may never have intended. What is clear, but, is that as time passes, certain provisions of custody orders that at first worked well. Or seemed appropriate may no longer be necessary. Without going through an exhaustive list of examples. life happens fast and can cause changes to children’s activities. Parent’s relationships. parent’s jobs, and everything else.
While child custody orders can always modified by. the parties themselves without court involvement. In high conflict cases, or regular cases. Sometimes an out of court agreement cannot reachedwhich means the partie. must return to Court.
In such situations, the Family Court custody process starts anew, with one party having to file a Request for Order (Motion), and the parties having to return to Family Court Services (FCS).
It is important to note that, unless extenuating circumstances exist. the Court system is loath to send parties to FCS more than once during a calendar year. It is also important to note that custody modification motions can and do take a great deal of time. To proceed through the Court system. And during that time unless other circumstances exist that usually revolve. Around the safety of the minor or minors at issue. The prior orders remain in effect.
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Other than reaching an out of court agreement on custody changes. The fastest way to get a modification of custody orders is to reach an agreement at FCS. The main point of FCS is, if possible, to bridge the gap between the parties. And to allow a neutral third-party mediator to find out what is occurring with the minor or minors. If an agreement cannot reached, this mediator will provide both the parties and . The Court with their recommendations in a report.
About filing motions, the main legal reasons for changing child custody in California based. On the “change in circumstances” test. .and whether such changes are in the “best interests” of the minor or minors. Both tests fact-specific and turn on the specific fact patterns of each case. But designed to prevent parties from running to Court to seek modifications for every perceived issue. When presenting such issues to the Court. One needs to provide a clear and concise list of reasons that based on independent and corroborated evidence. While there are other ways to change child custody in Family Court. Such other situations usually involve restraining orders, criminal conduct. Or other child endangerment issues, that while separate. Also at some point consider the “best interests” of the minor or minors.
Given the nature of the relief requested. child custody modification motions serious business and a serious matter. That one needs to prepared to get the relief that they want. There also can be many forms, depending on . What type of relief one is seeking for themselves, and their children. If you have questions about either filing or defending a modification request. Don’t trust what advice you receive from family and friends, or the internet. But contact an attorney who can guide you between what is real and what is a dead-end. And who will advocate for you to get the protection you need.
Contact our office today with any child custody questions you may have to protect your rights and those of your children.