Child Custody Modification In 2014 In San Diego For A Divorce, Paternity Or Legal Separation

WHAT IS CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATION WHETHER A PATERNITY, DIVORCE OR LEGAL SEPARATION IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT?

Child custody orders are modifiable. First, a determination needs to be made whether the modification of the child custody is from a permanent or temporary order. Second, a decision needs to be made what the modification is requesting. A child custody modification can be accomplished by agreement of the parents which is the best method. To obtain a written modification of an existing parenting plan through a court order, a stipulation {written agreement} needs to be submitted to the San Diego Superior Court in the proper format. Once the stipulation is signed by the Judge, then it becomes the current order of the Court. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the procedure is to file a motion for modification which is called a request for order. This request for order is filed with the San Diego Superior Court and two dates will be set: mandatory mediation at Family Court Services and a hearing date before a Judge. This request for order must be served upon the other parent. A response is then filed and any exhibits or documents are either filed or lodged with the Court.

HOW IS CHILD CUSTODY DETERMINED IN SAN DIEGO?

In San Diego, and there is no difference whether a legal separation, divorce or paternity, the parents must either reach an agreement or go through the mandatory mediation which is called “Family Court Services” before a court hearing. San Diego is a recommending county, as compared with other counties in California, which are not. A recommending county means that, if the parents cannot reach an agreement at the mandatory mediation, then there will be a written recommendation. A copy of the written recommendation is sent to both parents and also the Judge. As the mediators are licensed clinical social workers who are experts in this area and do not know either parent and have no interest in the outcome of the case, the Judge normally follows them mediator’s recommendation. If you receive a recommendation you do not agree to, then you may need to consider additional strategies such as asking for a long cause hearing with oral testimony and having the mediator testify under subpoena. In rare cases, a psychological evaluation is ordered of one or both parents and the psychologist or psychiatrist will make a recommendation and also be available to testify in court. Factors which are considered for how child custody is determined include the safety, welfare and health of the children and also their best interests including frequent and continuing contact between the parents, bonding and stability among many others.

WHAT IS THE STANDARD FOR MODIFYING A PERMANENT CHILD CUSTODY ORDER?

A permanent child custody order means that the order is post judgment. Permanent does not, however, mean that the order is not modifiable upon a change of circumstances. A change of circumstances for a child custody modification can include a parent moving, children moving schools, marriage or re marriage, having other children and many others. One change of circumstance can include the preference of a child if they are of the age and maturity to provide an opinion. Again, the best procedure is to reach an agreement with the other parent. If not, the motion for modification will need to be filed. You will need to attend mediation and then the court hearing where a Judge will make an order.

WHAT IS THE STANDARD FOR MODIFYING A TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY ORDER?

A temporary order for child custody means before judgment. In this case, there is no need for a formal change of circumstances since the orders are only temporary however these should be some basis for asking for a modification. The procedure is to file a motion if no agreement.

HOW CAN A SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW FIRM HELP?

The law office of Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation can help you reach an agreement to modify your child custody order whether temporary or permanent and, if no agreement, can represent you and assist you to try and obtain your child custody goals. Please feel free to contact the law office for your confidential and no cost initial consultation up to 30 minutes.

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