• Annmarie Baranik

How to Modify an Existing Child Custody or Visitation Order in Carpinteria, California

After a judge makes a custody and visitation order in Carpinteria, California 1 or both parents may want to change the order.

There are many good reasons why a parenting plan may need to be changed. As the children get older, for example, their needs, interests, and activities change. And as each of the parents moves on with his or her separate life, new partners, new jobs, or new homes can all mean that the parenting plan needs to be changed.

 If the parents agree on the changes, they can change their court order by using an agreement.  But if the parents cannot agree on the changes, 1 of the parents must file papers with the court asking for a change (a “modification”) of your current child custody and visitation order. If you want to change your order, you and the other parent will probably have to meet with a mediator to talk about why you want the order to change before you go to the court hearing.

  • You have to show that there has been a “change in circumstances” since the final custody order was made. This means that there has been a significant change that requires a new custody and visitation arrangement for the best interest of the children. 

To ask for a court hearing to change your existing custody and visitation order:

  1. Fill out your court forms in California!!! Request for Order (Form FL-300). You can use the Information Sheet for Request for Order (Form FL-300-INFO) for information. You can also fill out the Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment(Form FL-311)

  2. Have your forms reviewed To make sure that they are filled out correctly 

  3. Make at least 2 copies of all your forms One copy will be for you; another copy will be for your child’s other parent. The original is for the court.

  4. File your forms with the court clerk The clerk will keep the original for the court and return the 2 copies to you, stamped “Filed.” You will have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver

  5. Get your court date or mediation date The clerk will probably give you a court date. You may have to meet with the mediator before the court date or go to a mediation orientation. Ask the clerk if you are not sure.

  6. Serve your papers on the other parent Have someone (NOT you) serve the other parent with a copy of your papers and a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320) before your court date. Look at the front of Form FL-300 to see if the court ordered you to serve any other documents. 

  7. File your Proof of Service Have your server fill out a Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-33 If the papers were served by mail, have your server fill out a Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335) instead.

  8. Go to your mediation and court hearing

Go to mediation before your court date if the rules in your local court require it. If you do not reach an agreement in mediation, go to your court hearing, and take a copy of all your papers and your Proof of Service.

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