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Can the court change a custody order?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Child Custody, Divorce

Child custody decided by a judge may prove challenging to overturn. Several factors go into the original order and a subsequent change.

When talking about custody, it helps to know the difference between legal custody and physical custody. Learn a bit about common scenarios under which a court may determine custody matters and the factors that a judge will assess when making the choice.

Legal custody

Courts in California tend to award both parents joint legal custody. This gives them equal voices in school and healthcare decisions. It also allows both parents access to the children and their personal information at school and otherwise.

Physical custody

Along with sharing legal custody, family courts typically grant both parents time with the children. This is physical custody. The parents do not have to split this equally, but it does allow them to create a schedule for when the children will visit and the terms under which they do so.

Custody changes

There are several reasons a court will overturn prior custody orders. If a parent poses a threat to the children, a judge may revoke their access to them. Custody changes may require evidence of physical or mental harm, a degradation in the relationship between the children and the parent or abandonment.

A judge deciding custody must consider several factors. However, the best interest of the children always remains the determining element. For changes to a prior custody award, the parent requesting the change should show evidence as to why the change benefits the welfare of the children.