After any divorce or legal separation that involves children in California, custody and support orders are issued. If there is a significant change in circumstances, you can petition the court to modify these orders, but the process can be complex. Below, our Salinas family lawyer explains the most important steps in the process.
Before you ask the courts to modify orders for child support, custody, or parenting time, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Monterey County divorce and family law attorney, who can review your current orders and situation to see if a modification is appropriate and how to pursue the request.
In California, the court will only grant a modification to a support or custody order if there are specific grounds to do so. Generally speaking, there must have been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a change. It is also important to determine if a change is really necessary. For example, many people petition the court thinking they are guaranteed to get more in child support. However, while their income may have gone down, time with their child may have also decreased, which may end with them paying even more in support.
You will need to complete many forms when requesting a support or custody modification. These include the Request for Order and the Income and Expense Declaration, or a simplified Financial Statement. Make at least two copies of all of your forms.
You must file your forms with the county clerk. They will file the original and give you a stamped copy. Some jurisdictions allow for e-filing. You may have to pay a fee for filing but sometimes, this fee can be waived.
The clerk will write down your court date on Form FL-300. If you are asking to modify child custody orders, the clerk may also give you a date for a mediation session.
A third party that is at least 18 years of age must serve the other parent with the forms filed with the court. A Responsive Declaration to Request for Order, as well as a blank Income and Expense Declaration, must also be served to the other parent. The other parent can be served by mail, but service must occur at least 16 days before the court hearing, with an additional five calendar days when the paperwork is mailed. When serving the papers to the other parent in person, it must be done 16 days before the court hearing.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. If you choose mediation to resolve your dispute, you and the other parent will meet with a mediator. The mediator is a neutral third party that will try to foster compromise and communication between each of you. If you can reach an agreement during mediation, there is no need to go to court.
It is important that you attend the court hearing listed on the form the clerk gave you. Bring all of your paperwork and work with a family law attorney that can help you prepare for the hearing.
Any time the family courts issue a new child support order, both parents have to fill out a Child Support Case Registry Form. You must fill this out even if you filled one out after the original court order. This form registers the order with the national registry, and it helps with child support enforcement. These forms are kept by the State of California and not the court records, so they do not become public.
If you need to modify a support or custody order, our Salinas family lawyer in Miranda, Magden & Miranda can help. We are very familiar with the process and will guide you through it to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.
Thank you Miranda and team for the excellent service provided. Miranda is a compassionate, understating, extremely knowledgeable and professional attorney. Her team was always on top of everything making my legal process less stressful. I could never thank Miranda and her assistant Ingrid for holding my hand throughout this difficult process (literally). Miranda is one of the BEST immigration lawyers ever! I would definitely recommend her.
They represented my custody case and handled it like it is their own case and they are best in Monterey County.
The entire team at MMM are superstars! I appreciate all the time and prep that went into my original case many years ago. And now recently, I asked for some help on a follow-up custody matter that I felt I could handle myself but just needed their expertise to properly represent all the important details. They are knowledgeable, extremely thorough, and prepared me for every possible scenario. I can't thank them enough!
My partner and I sought legal advice on bringing my fiance' to the United States with this office after having called a few immigration attorney offices around Monterey County. Having never sought legal advice before it was a refreshing experience in which we both really felt that Patricia listened intently to our goals and needs, and then not only gave us thorough advice, but also she really showed a lot of empathy with our situation and all the challenges we faced in what we trying to do. I would definitely recommend this office for anyone who is unclear about what..
Working with Patricia was a professional encounter unlike any other, an absolute 5-star experience. From the first moment, we walked into our consultation until the moment our case was closed and my husband walked away with his permanent resident card Patricia was communicative, professional, and thorough. Her team contacted us every step of the way providing valuable process and law changes we would not have been able to catch if we tried to navigate this endeavor alone. Patricia answered our endless question stream with thoughtfulness and care, calling us countless times to ensure we were clear on every piece of..
Last year, I had just moved in the area and needed a family law attorney for a custody case. The process of finding/choosing an attorney could be daunting. However, when I went in for my first consultation with Levi my stress level was immediately mollified. He was personable, which made me feel comfortable to discuss my personal matters freely. I had a lot of questions of the legal process that would take place and he took the time to explain everything with meticulous detail. More importantly, when I called Levi he returned my phone calls in a timely/professional time frame...
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