How Do I Change My Family Court Order and When Should I Do It?

Family Law

When should you change your Family Court order?  When it no longer serves the needs of your family.  

For example, if a custody order is entered when your baby girl is two years old, it may say she stays with each parent for 2 or 3 days and then trades back.  This is an appropriate order for a small child with a developing memory. It helps the child attach to both parents and adjust to two different households. However, when your baby girl is 14 years old, she will not want to shuttle between the homes every few days and you will probably see some rebellion.  This is not the time to say, “but the Family Court Order says you have to do it!” It is the time to get a new Family Court Order.  

How do you change the Family Court Order?

If you and your former spouse get along (and good for you, if you do!) you can agree to new terms, have a family law attorney prepare the order and enter it.  This process works for any ongoing Family Court Order, custody, visitation, spousal support, or child support.  

It is important to remember to modify the Family Court Order with a new Family Court Order.  An informal agreement, even if written, will not be enforceable by a court. So, if the other party decides he or she no longer wants to honor the agreement, the court cannot enforce it. 

If you are not on friendly terms with your ex, do not worry.  You do not have to have an agreement, you may ask the court to modify an existing Family Court Order.  You must file a Request for Order with the court that issued the Family Court Order you already have. For example, if Department 2 of the San Diego Superior Court issued the order several years ago, you file the Request for Order with the same department.  

How to Modify an Existing Family Court Order with a Request for Order:

A Child Custody Family Court Order may be modified when you are able to show that there has been a “significant change of circumstances” to support the modification, and the court finds the modification “necessary and proper” for the child’s best interest.  A “significant change in circumstances” can be anything, e.g., if one of you wishes to move away, it is time to adjust the custody schedule for a good reason (the child wants to spend more time with a parent) or for a bad reason (one of the parents is no longer suitable because of neglect, abuse, substance abuse, or is unreliable).  

You may need to modify a spousal support order.  If, circumstances may have changed since your Family Court Order for spousal support order was made, and the supported spouse or the supporting spouse may request a modification of the existing Family Court Order. Good reasons to modify a spousal support order include the supported party is not making a good faith effort toward being self-supporting, the supported party remarries, and the support needs to be ended, or the income of either the party has changed.  

Child support is also modifiable, even if the parties have already agreed that child support will not be modified. If you believe that child support should be lowered or raised, you should seek advice from a family law attorney and act immediately 

If something occurs that makes it necessary for you to change an existing order, it is important that you have the proper legal representation to act as soon as possible. JWB Family Law attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide the guidance and representation needed when you are filing a Request for Order to modify a Family Court Order. 

JWB Family Law Adds Anne B. Howard ESQ., as a Senior Associate Attorney

JWB Family Law is expanding its team to welcome Anne B. Howard, ESQ, as a Senior Associate Attorney. Anne brings extensive expertise in family law to the team, specializing in child support, paternity, asset, and property division, and divorce. “I was drawn to the...

Custody and Successful Co-Parenting During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our daily lives. Schools are closed, parents are working from home, and some have lost their jobs. Life is not what it was just a few months ago. Children are now with parents all day—every day. Parents are now responsible...

How to Deal With Domestic Violence During COVID-19

There is a growing concern amongst professionals regarding a rise in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the period from March 1 through April 25, 2020, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department logged 2,309 domestic-related calls. This is roughly a three...

JWB Family Law Continues to Serve Clients During COVID-19

Heightened anxiety and uncertainty in the world often result in significant family distress, including a surge in domestic violence incidents. As a family law practice, we need to show up for our clients now more than ever. For that reason, JWB Family Law is operating...

How Do I Change My Family Court Order and When Should I Do It?

When should you change your Family Court order?  When it no longer serves the needs of your family.   For example, if a custody order is entered when your baby girl is two years old, it may say she stays with each parent for 2 or 3 days and then trades back.  This is...

What is Family Court Services Mediation and Do I Have to Attend It?

If you are unhappy with your current custody plan, or need to create a new one, you may ask the court for assistance.  To do that, you will need to file a Request for Order with the local court. Immediately upon filing the Request, you will receive a date to attend...

How to Legally Obtain a Paternity Test

It happens.  Sometimes we do not know who the biological father of a child is.  It is important information. Paternity effects health issues, as well as the socioeconomic ones.   Enter the paternity test.  It is not like the old days of enormous expense, blood tests,...

JWB Family Law Adds Carmen E. Ramos, CFLS, as a Senior Associate Attorney

JWB Family Law is expanding its team to welcome Carmen E. Ramos, CFLS, as a Senior Associate Attorney. Carmen joins the JWB Family Law legal team to help the firm in all aspects of family law: divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and property...

The Basics of Filing for Divorce in San Diego

To begin the process of filing for divorce in San Diego County, you will need to file a Summons (FL-110), and a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (FL-100). If you have children, you will also need to file a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction...

Custody Rights: Prepare for Mediation with Family Court Services

If you are involved in a family court case in San Diego County and there are issues of child custody rights and visitation, at some point you will need to attend court-ordered mediation with Family Court Services. This usually takes place prior to any court hearing on...