When a judge and the court have issued a final order within a family law or divorce case, the order is most often deemed to be final. If an individual would like to request a change, they must file a new case with the courts and must follow the original legal terms ordered until the court can issue a new order based on the new request and case specifics. Regardless of whether or not both parties have agreed to the proposed changes, nothing is legally official and binding until formerly approved by the court.
Changes to a family law case are rare and are modified in only specific circumstances. In general, property and debt division at the time of divorce is rarely altered, as is a paternity decision. Under certain circumstances such as fraud they may be set aside, but they are rarely changed.
Other elements within family law cases are more commonly changed, such as altering child custody, visitation and child support parameters. The California court system follows specific guidelines to determine whether or not such elements warrant change or remain the same.
Modifications to Child Custody
In terms of child custody, the courts primarily look for changes in the child’s or parent’s life either circumstantially or financially that materially effect the ongoing welfare of the child. Such changes can be deemed either positive or negative and are contingent upon a parent’s circumstances. These changes must be proven to directly affect the child and the reason for the modifications to child custody should reflect an incident or circumstance that has occurred since the final case order was decided. Certain extenuating circumstances may exist that prove an incident or circumstance existed at the direct time of the original court case, however clear proof must be provided that such an incident or circumstance has since either improved or worsened materially.
Modifications to Parental Visitation
Changes to visitation stipulations can only be changed if they are deemed to be for the best interest of the child or children. For this variety of changes, proof of material change in a child’s life or a parent’s life is not necessary. Modifications to visitation must be requested and when granted by the court, individuals must wait two years before requesting additional alterations and modifications to visitation parameters. One exception to this 2-year rule is if an individual can clearly prove that a material change of circumstances is at the source of the requested modification.
Modification to Child Support
If a parent or custodian experiences a significant change in income or financial security, they may be eligible for a child support order to be successfully modified, given clear proof and by following the proper protocol. Other modifications may follow the changing needs of a child as it grows older and encounters new expenses. Overall, modification to a court order involving child custody, visitation or child support can be incredibly complex, and aligning yourself with a skilled Pasadena family law attorney is essential for a successful outcome to a court order modification.
Conveniently located at the Southern California Law Offices of Ted Khalaf, our attorneys are committed to your success in the courtroom and are highly motivated to provide exemplary service to our valuable clients. Call our Southern California offices today at (626) 478-3550 to speak to one of our skilled Pasadena family lawyers for a free consultation.
Our proven track record speaks for itself. Providing our clients with the highest level of service is our top priority.
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