When the courts make child custody decisions in California, they do so with the best interests of the kids in mind. This, unfortunately, does not always sit well with some parents as they may feel their own interests are overlooked. Parents do have a say in how the courts structure child custody agreements. However, if their concerns and recommendations infringe on their ability and responsibility to uphold their parenting obligations, the legal system can and will intervene and make whatever child custody arrangements are necessary. Parents must abide by them or risk contempt of court and other legal consequences.
As tough of a stance as this may seem, the courts do recognize that some issues interfere with a parent’s ability to adhere to the child custody arrangement, such as drastic changes in income, employment status and health that require them to revisit child custody orders and make adjustments. Here are a few considerations for parents to keep in mind about child custody modifications.
Modifications are not automatic
The parent needing adjustments to a parenting or child custody arrangement must demonstrate need. That need must be because one parent is in violation of the order or one (or both) guardians can prove the purposed changes better serve their children’s interests, such as removing them from an environment with domestic abuse and violence. Not having enough personal time due to work or personal obligations, not wanting to be bothered or simply wanting time off are not legitimate reasons for adjustments. Children deserve and require the love and support of both parents. Parenting is not a task one can pick up and put down when they want.
Court involvement is ideal
Some parents manage to work out the kinks in their child custody situations on their own without the courts. Because child custody requires the cooperation of both parents, it is important to take measures to prevent potential complications. Court intervention is not legally required, but it does help with enforcement should problems arise that result in one parent not honoring the new agreement. Adjustments made between parents on their own are not legally enforceable. The law will always defer to the original child custody order. Modifications made through the courts are legally binding.