When a court issues a child custody order, there's a good chance that it will be modified before the children reach adulthood. Parents may consider renegotiating the arrangement every couple of years or so. Changes may occur in the family's life that will precipitate the need to modify the custody arrangement, such as a new job or home or changes in the children's interests and activities. California law requires a judge to approve any alterations to a final custody order. If you have questions about modifying a court ordered custody arrangement, it is critical that you contact a San Diego family law attorney who is experienced in handling such matters in the local courts.
In a recent case, a California court modified a custody order, and in doing so, refused to allow a child to travel with the father out of the country. In this complicated matter, the parents were married in 2005, their only son was born in 2006, and they divorced in 2008. At that time, the parents were awarded joint legal custody of the child. The mother alleged that in 2010, the father halted contact with their son when he moved out of the country to Australia. It seems that the father and son had little communication with one another for two years. In December 2012, the father told the mother that he was coming back to San Diego and hoped to resume his 40 percent share of physical custody of the child.
Believing that this would be detrimental to the child, the mother filed a request for order (or "RFO"), asking for sole legal and sole physical custody of their son. Despite the fact that Family Court Services did not forbid the boy from visiting his father in Australia, the trial court issued a modified custody order, removing the possibility of the child going to Australia until at least June 2014 when a hearing could be held to reconsider the issue. The court granted the father two visits in San Diego for two weeks each, in addition to other visitation privileges. The father appealed the modification order contesting his inability to take the child out of the country, as well as other issues not discussed here.