How to Change California Child Custody and Support Orders

Although a finalized divorce agreement, support order or custody order has the authority of a court behind it, the order is not written in stone. It can often be modified over time as circumstances and needs change.

At the Law Office of Linda D. States, I help clients seek post-judgment modifications, post-judgment enforcement and motions to set aside judgments that were unfair or inaccurate.

Modifying Child Custody Orders

The custody agreement established at the time of the divorce may have accurately reflected the best interests of the children at the time. But as children grow, their physical, emotional and financial needs change.

Child custody modifications may also be necessary after a significant change in a parent's circumstances, including:

  • The loss of a job or inability to find steady work
  • A change in work schedule requiring the parent to be away during most of their parenting time
  • One parent's need to relocate for work
  • One parent's desire to relocate, especially out of state
  • Drug and alcohol abuse problems
  • Domestic violence involving or witnessed by the children

Whether you are seeking to modify your child custody order or fighting to prevent modification, my firm can help. I can also assist you if your ex-spouse is refusing to abide by the custody agreement.

Child Support Modifications

Financial circumstances are very susceptible to change, and orders may need to be modified to reflect those changes. With child support, the biggest considerations are often those that directly affect the children (as opposed to the parent's ability to pay). These include significant and unexpected medical issues, caring for a child with special needs or changing expenses as children get older and start participating in extracurricular activities.

Modifying Spousal Support

Spousal support orders may need to be modified for a number of reasons, but one scenario involves allegations that a former spouse refuses to work or is purposely underemployed. The support payer, for instance, may allege that his ex-wife has a higher earning capacity than is reflected in the original support order.

In such cases, it may be necessary to complete a vocational evaluation for the spouse in question. This is an assessment of what income he or she could reasonably earn, not just the amount of income he or she currently earns.

Setting Aside A Judgment

Some support agreements, custody agreements and divorce settlements need to be changed because they were either unfair or based on incorrect information. In such cases, a client can petition the court to set aside a judgment.

There are many reasons why a judgment may need to be set aside or corrected. However, it is important to note that you cannot pursue this option simply because you don't agree with the judgment. There must generally be a demonstrable mistake or other problem that unduly influenced the original judgment.

Seek The Help Of A Skilled Lawyer

I am attorney Linda D. States, and I am ready to assist you with nearly any modification or set-aside issue. To learn more, call my Sacramento office at 916-426-9119. You can also contact me via email.