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  • Writer's pictureJames Chau

Modifying Family Court Orders: When and How to Request Changes to Custody, Support, or Visitation


Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change after a family court order has been issued. Whether it's a change in financial situation, relocation, or other significant life events, there may come a time when you need to modify an existing court order related to child custody, support, or visitation. In this post, we'll guide you through the circumstances under which court orders can be modified and the process to do so in California.

Grounds for Modifying Family Court Orders

Change in Circumstances


The most common reason for requesting a modification is a change in circumstances. This could be a job loss, a substantial increase or decrease in income, relocation, or a change in the child's needs.


Mutual Agreement


Sometimes, both parties mutually agree to a change in the court order. In such cases, the process can be more straightforward, but it's essential to get the new agreement in writing and approved by the court. A well drafted agreement can be invaluable to your case.


Emergency Situations


In situations where the child's immediate health or safety is at risk, emergency modifications can be sought or there are immediate concerns for loss of property or assets an ex-parte emergency motion can be filed. These are temporary and are typically followed by a full hearing.


The Process of Requesting a Modification

Filing a Request


he first step is to file a request with the court that issued the original order. This request should detail the reasons for the modification and provide evidence supporting the change.


Mediation or Court Hearing


Depending on the county, you may be required to attend mediation before a court hearing. If an agreement is reached in mediation, it will be presented to the judge for approval. If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to a court hearing where both parties can present their arguments.


Court's Decision


The judge will consider all evidence and arguments presented and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. It's crucial to be prepared and have all the necessary

documentation to support your case.


Tips for a Successful Modification Request

Document Everything


Keep detailed records of any changes in circumstances or reasons for the modification request. This can include financial documents, medical records, or communication between parties.


Stay Compliant with Current Orders


Until the court approves a modification, it's essential to remain compliant with the current order. Failure to do so can negatively impact your case.


Seek Legal Counsel


Navigating the legal system can be complex, especially when it comes to matters of family law. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.


Let the Law Office of James Chau Assist You


Modifying a family court order is a significant decision and can have lasting implications for all parties involved. It's crucial to approach this process with knowledge, preparation, and the right legal support.


If you're considering seeking a modification to a family court order or need guidance on any family law matter, the Law Office of James Chau is here to assist you. As a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, James Chau brings expertise, compassion, and dedication to every case. Contact us today at (408) 899-8364 or visit our office at 2114 Senter Road, Suite 2, San Jose, CA 95112 for a consultation.


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