Mother and daughterThis is the second post in our series on when one may change child custody in Orange County, California. Our last article provided an overview of topics this series will be addressing and stressed the need to contact a lawyer immediately if you wish to change your current arrangement. It is important to contact counsel immediately as, the longer you allow the current situation to go on, the more likely the Court will be to view the current situation as acceptable. In this article we will analyze the specific requirements which must be met in order for the Judge to make a change. If you have questions about the process then contact our office to speak with an attorney for changing child custody.

Orange County parents may change custody when there has been a substantial change of circumstances since their last Order

Many parents make the mistake of thinking that they can change custody simply because they believe themselves to be the better parent. The fact of the matter is that the Court will not entertain a change unless you can meet two requirements. First, it must be shown that circumstances have substantially changed since the Court’s last Order. In determining whether there is a change of circumstances the Court will only considers facts which have occurred since the Judge’s last ruling. Second, it must be shown that the change would be in the child’s best interests. We will discuss each of these requirements in turn.

There are many facts which may constitute a substantial circumstances. It may be that the current arrangement is no longer workable due to a different work schedule, one parent having moved further away and now being unable to get the child to school, or other such changes. There are also more extreme circumstances such as custody changes based on drug use, physical violence, a parent, having been arrested, etc. It is important to understand that the Court will expect evidence of serious misconduct. If you claim, for example, that the other is neglecting the child then the Court will look for evidence of such neglect. If the child is not missing time from school, is getting good grades, and is exhibiting no behavioral problems then the Judge will be less likely to entertain the request. Again, each case will be situation specific.

When determining what is in the child’s best interests the Orange County Court will consider a variety of factors. These will include each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, the source of any conflict between the parents, the nature of the relationship between the child and each parent, the preference of the child (assuming that the child is old enough to make an intelligent decision), as well as other considerations.

An Orange County child custody attorney can help you determine whether a change is possible

Many parents are unsure as to whether they are capable of changing their current arrangement. Consulting with an Orange County child custody attorney can help you in deciding whether or not to go forward with a case. Counsel will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of what has happened and will give you an informed decision as to your options. If you have questions about the process then contact our Laguna Hills office today to speak with a lawyer.

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