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Modifying Child Support Orders

Child support orders can be modified throughout the child's minority whenever the courts believe it is necessary and proper or in the best interests of the child. The state of California is said to have a paramount interest in the welfare of minor children. Therefore, the parents can't take away the state's rights to oversee and modify child custody and visitation. Any agreement by the parents interfering with the court's right to modify custody/visitation is void and unenforceable.  An experienced family law attorney will have a good idea if your modification will likely win or not.

If one of the parents dies, the surviving parent gets sole custody unless it is proven that sole custody is not in the best interests of the child. This would have to be proved by clear and convincing evidence. It's not easy for a third party to get custody or visitation upon the death of one of the parents. They would have to bring what's referred to as an independent proceeding, i.e., guardianship, dependency or a visitation petition.


The underlying premise to any custody or visitation order is the "best interests of the child." Once a final judgment has been rendered regarding custody/visitation of the child, a parent wanting to modify a permanent order will have to show that there have been significant changes of circumstances that affect the child's welfare. If the party seeking change is unable to meet his or her burden, the court cannot make the modification because it would be an abuse of discretion. A stable home is in the best interests of the child and the court must always act accordingly.  The best thing to do is have an experienced family law attorney on your side to put your strongest case forward.

This changed circumstances rule comes into play only after there has been a final adjudication of the child custody and visitation. So basically, the parent that wants the custody status to be changed must prove to the court why the change will be in the child's best interest. This is done in a live hearing in front of the judge by presenting evidence.
If the non–custodial parent must relocate to a faraway location, that could be grounds for modifying custody and visitation. The noncustodial parent will need a new contact schedule for longer, but less frequent visitation periods. For example, instead of getting the children every weekend, the non–custodial parent could get them for summers. The court's policy is that the minor children should have continuing contact with both parents, unless the contact would be detrimental.

If you have a child custody or support issue and you are living around Stockton or Modesto, call our family law attorneys today!

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