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Orange County Family Law Attorney

To Agree or Disagree – the Question in Modifications to Child Custody Schedules

It’s not that child custody schedules can’t be modified; it’s usually more a matter of having both parties to the schedule actually agree on the change.

Let’s consider the hypothetical case of Mike and Nicole who had been divorced for over six years. Their original custody order worked out well for both of them, but Mike got a new job and his hours of work changed. He needs to have the visitation schedule altered or modified. Mike needs to know what to do to get the order modified. He also needs to know if he has any custody rights to modify the existing agreement.

These are tough questions and most people should find out the answers before attempting to make any changes/modifications to an existing child custody schedule. “Legally speaking, the parents definitely have child custody rights to make modifications. If the circumstances of either of the parents change, or it’s for the best interest of the children to change the initial arrangements, the parents may ask the court for a custody order modification,” indicated Gerald A. Maggio, an Orange County custody lawyer. There are a few things to keep in mind before doing this.

The first thing may take both parents by surprise if they are used to “not” talking to one another, and that is to discuss the modification with the other parent and work out the changes together. If the parents are on the same song sheet and support the changes, they only need to file some papers in court and the order is thereby modified. Modification may be just that simple.

“Communicating with each other over a change to the original child custody schedule is made a lot easier if the change isn’t enormous, like one parent moving out of the state or country. Smaller changes that really don’t impinge on the overall agreement are more readily accepted. The bigger the change, the higher the likelihood that the other parent won’t agree and the matter will be going to court,” Maggio added.

If the matter does wind up in court, the parent wanting the change has to be prepared to show the court it is in the best interests of the child. This may mean using witnesses that state if the change doesn’t happen the child will be harmed. “The prevailing concern of the courts in situations like this has to do with providing the child a stable environment. Unless the change will do just that, the court isn’t always inclined to grant the modifications,” said Maggio.

Gerald A. Maggio is senior partner of The Maggio Law Firm, Inc., an Orange County and Riverside Divorce and Family Law firm headquartered in Irvine, California.  The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law matters, including child custody, child support, spousal support, complicated high asset marital property cases, and domestic partnerships.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting

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