Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Child Custody Visitation > Defending Against Motions to Modify Child Custody

Defending Against Motions to Modify Child Custody


The details going into child custody and visitation rights are very often the biggest hang-ups in divorce cases being settled and finalized. Parents are willing to fight tooth and nail to make sure their child is taken care of and has everything they need for a stable, happy life.

But the reality is, custody orders are not, necessarily, the final word on the matter.

As many parents have come to understand, your co-parent can petition the court to modify your hard-fought custody agreement. Child custody modifications can feel scary to everyone involved, as they threaten to take what has been a stable and (ideally) highly functional situation and change it. It is important to children’s well-being and development to be in a stable, consistent environment. This means that parents are completely justified if they feel apprehensive at the thought of a custody modification order. There is a lot at stake, and if you choose to defend against a child custody modification request, experienced legal counsel can help you prepare and go up to bat.

Defend Against a Child Custody Modification Request

It is important to remember that, generally speaking, a child’s best interests are usually best served by having both of their parents in their life. However, it can be difficult to keep this perspective in mind if your co-parent requests a modification to custody and tries to support the request by levying allegations against you or painting you in a bad light before the court.

As difficult as it may be to go into this arena (again) it is important that you wrest control over your life, your well-being, and your child’s well-being. You do not have to allow your co-parent to take control of custody matters. You can defend against the request.

Defense Strategies

When your co-parent files a motion to request a modification in the custody arrangement, under California law they are going to need to argue that there has been some material change in circumstances. This is because the court values children’s stability and, in general, does not relish the idea of a child’s custody arrangement being changed on a whim.

To support their claim that there has been a material change in circumstances, you should not be surprised if your co-parent makes specific allegations against you that attack your parenting. Generally speaking, to defend against whatever your co-parent might allege, you should be prepared to do the following:

  • Present Witness Testimony: Your co-parent could very well attempt to support their motion to modify custody by calling upon statements made by that parent’s family, friends, and/or acquaintances or professionals. If this is the case, it is likely not enough to plan to just come to court and state “they are all wrong.” You need to counter your co-parent’s statements with witnesses of your own and supply your own side of the story and testamentary evidence. You can look to family members, friends, school officials, etc. to corroborate your side of the story.
  • Anticipate Recorded Communications: If you have been recorded via text, voice mail, e-mail ,or some other form of communication in a way that might be damaging to you, be prepared for records of that to come up in court. Be prepared to frame these communications in their proper light so that your co-parent cannot present the information out of context in order to cast you in a more disparaging light
  • Do Not Ignore Harmful Evidence: Physical items can be used as evidence in court. This includes social media posts, photos, police reports, etc. If there are problematic items do not bury your head in the sand – you will want to work with an experienced attorney who can help you strategize how to handle these items being presented in court. It can also be helpful to keep a record of any steps you may have taken to improve upon yourself.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young

Your child’s best interest should always be the primary focus. In defending against a child modification order, be prepared to show the court why the existing custody order is the best vehicle to continue serving your child’s best interests. Contact the San Francisco child custody and visitation lawyers at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young for help in your case.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2022 - 2024 Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.