Well-being of child guides court decisions about custody changes

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

Reasons can arise in the lives of parents in California that require them to seek court approval of a new child custody agreement. When evaluating modification requests, a judge will give the most consideration to the needs of the child instead of the convenience of the parents.
Because the best interests of the child guide family courts, immediate dangers to a child could convince a judge to alter an existing custody schedule. A parent asking to remove a child from a custodial parent will need to show that domestic violence is occurring or that other types of threats pose a danger to the child. A judge could also consider a child’s desire to leave a threatening environment.
Parental relocation presents another scenario when custody might need to be adjusted. In this situation, a judge will review the parent’s reason for moving and if it makes the current visitation schedule unworkable. Interruption of the child’s routine that includes friendships, athletics and schooling could also factor into a judge’s decision. A parent’s unwillingness or inability to fulfill a custody agreement may lead a court to approve a new arrangement as well.
When a person needs to get a divorce or change an established custody or visitation schedule, they may receive guidance from a lawyer. An attorney could describe key issues that a co-parenting plan and custody schedule should address, such as school vacations and family holidays. If the client has not been able to come to terms with the other parent about child custody, an attorney might handle negotiations and insulate the parties from hostile confrontations. An attorney could also prepare court filings and communicate the needs of the client to the court.