If you are having problems with your current parenting time schedule or custody arrangement, perhaps a change may be in order. However, not every parenting time or custody dispute may give rise to a modification, even though an angry parent may threaten to take the kids or change custody so that another parent cannot make decisions.
The reality is that any modification request must be in the best interests of the children. Again, a frustrated parent may mistake the child’s best interests for their own. With that said, it is helpful to know what a court will consider in a modification motion. This post will explore a few elements.
Jurisdiction – Initially, a court must determine if it has the legal right to hear the motion. This is important given that some custody decrees are based on a ruling from a different state. In these instances, an out-of-state court must release jurisdiction before a California court may hear the matter.
After jurisdiction is established, the court will view the facts in light of what best interests factors, which include, but are not limited to:
-The quality and nature of the relationship between each parent and the child
-The child’s preference if they are of suitable age in expressing a preference
-The effect of the proposed change on the child’s continuing health and welfare
-Whether a parent is likely to act in the best interests of the child going forward
-Whether a parent is likely to encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent.
If you have questions about whether a modification will work for you, an experienced attorney can help.