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Modifying a child custody agreement

Oftentimes, the outcome of child custody proceedings in Los Angeles will be unsatisfactory for one (or potentially both) parties involved. It is important to remember, however, that initial custody rulings are not always final; the potential does exist to have a custody order modified. In fact, the court will often order a review of a custody agreement every 2-3 years to ensure that it still fits a divorced couple's circumstances. Yet what about those who would like to have their custody agreements modified in between those periodic reviews? 

Per Section 3087 of the California Family Code, the law does allow for the modification of a custody agreement to be considered if it is believed to be in the best interest of the children involved. This legal privilege recognizes the fact that as children grow, their needs change, which could in turn require that the continuous access they have to their parents to be modified, as well. Parents should be careful, however, to encourage such change by undermining their ex-spouse's authority, as such actions may be taken into consideration when reviewing a request for a custody modification. 

The website for the Judicial Branch of California offers very succinct guidelines on how one is to request a custody modification. The following steps must be adhered to: 

  • One must fill out a FL-300 (Request for Order) form (as well as an optional FL-301 form if it is requested)
  • One must then obtain a court date for their request to be reviewed
  • One must serve the forms on the other parent
  • One must file an FL-330 (Proof of Personal Service)

What is left is for one to then go to their court session and present their case. Custody modification cases can range from a couple of weeks to up to several months.  

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