Grounds On Which Child Custody Orders Can Be Modified

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most important things that parents have trouble dealing with during a divorce is child custody. Custody plans are made based on the current situation of the parent. It includes things like visitation time and agreements based on the child’s preference.

However, situations can change any time and then it becomes difficult for parents to stick to the original custody plan. At times like these the custody plan is subject to modification provided the court allows it.

Below is a list of the grounds based on which child custody plans can be modified.


Relocation can happen for either of the parent at any point of time. Relocation is one of the major grounds on which custody plans can change. But that depends on the state. In California, there are travel restrictions for parents but if the relocation is unavoidable, the court allows the parent to change the custodial plan.

Relocation does not mean that the custody of the child will get transferred from one parent to the other. The court makes sure that the child stays in touch with both parents.

Unhealthy environment

A change in custody pans is often requested when one parent feels that the other is not providing a good environment for the children. However, the parent making the claims must provide proof and substantial evidence that the environment provided by the other parent is indeed bad.

An unhealthy environment means a parent who moves frequently, does not hold a steady job, has too many relationship and is misbehaves with the children.

Child’s preferences

California courts always take the child’s preference into consideration before passing a judgment. In fact, it is the single most important factor that determines a custody battle and custodial plan. When a custodial plan is changed, the court looks at the situation of the child and determines if changing the situation will have any effect or not.


Creating and maintaining a child custody plan is an important job for divorced parents as their children are at the center of it. A child custody plan can be changed anytime depending upon the situation of the parents and the children. A California court always takes the child’s preference into account and decides whether the situation will be beneficial for the child or not. A parent’s relocation and an unhealthy environment are the top reasons for the change in child custody plans.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation