This is the next post in our series on changing child custody in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed the requirements for changing child custody. It is important to understand that the Court will only entertain your request if you can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since your previous Order. Going to Court without a substantial change will result in the Court not entertaining your request. In this article we will discuss the process of filing a Motion to Modify Custody. Retaining an experienced family law attorney can improve your chances of being successful.
A Motion is a formal document through which you request something from the Court. It will state what it is you are requesting, as well as the facts and legal basis for your request. Your Motion must state the facts which you believe justify changing custody as well as why the change will be in the child’s best interests. Depending on the situation, you may also need to attach proof of your allegations to the Motion. If, for example, you are alleging that the other parent became physically violent and that you had to call law enforcement then a copy of your police report should be included. Once your Motion is filed the Court will set a hearing date. The other parent will file an Opposition brief before the hearing. If the matter is an emergency and the child is in danger the Court may be willing to expedite the matter and hold a hearing within a few days.
The initial hearing on your Motion is not a trial. The Court will not hear testimony or call witnesses. Instead, each attorney will argue as to why custody should or should not be changed. If the Court feels that the parent requesting the change has shown cause for a change then a trial date will be set. Depending on the circumstances, the Court may also change custody on a temporary basis with a permanent decision to be made at the trial. Another possibility is that the Court may leave the current situation in place pending trial. If a temporary change is made then child support will be adjusted, on an interim basis, as well.
It is crucial that your initial Motion contain all of the facts and arguments which justify a change of child custody. Failing to include the proper arguments and evidence may result in your request being denied outright. By retaining an experienced family law attorney, Orange County residents can help ensure that all matters are handled correctly. Our Laguna Hills office has handled many such matters and is ready to assist residents of our area. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
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