Changing Child Custody – The Uphill Battle

In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Here’s the deal – the Courts are lazy. Especially Family Law courts dealing with child custody and visitation matters. The Family Law courts here in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and Ventura counties are very slow to act unless there is a true emergency.

Not that they don’t want to work, but they don’t want to change things too much. They like the status quo, the situation as it stands, keep things calm and even. There’s a reason for this, and it almost makes sense. They know that kids need to have stability, and if you’re in the middle of a divorce or a bitter child custody battle, changing things all the time is not good for the children.

The court in general does not want to interfere in the lives of the people in front of it more than it has to. The more specific an order has to be, the harder it is on the judge, but also, it takes away from the realities of life. When an unexpected situation occurs, and it always will, the court wants the people involved to be able to cooperate and be flexible, to find a resolution that will work, without the court involved.

Sometimes that is possible, sometimes not.

This is why in some child custody cases, we have very short Parenting Plans, and other times, every possibility is covered, and it is still not enough.

So what does it take to change Child Custody? Generally it takes a “material change in circumstance.” That means something big has to have changed in either the child’s life, or the parent’s life. For example, Mom got a new boyfriend and they moved in together and he’s a violent alcoholic, or little Bobby is switching up to high school and it’s closer to Dad’s house.

Many times the child wants to live with dad, and depending on their age, that may be enough, if the situation is a healthy one and they are not simply rebelling at mom’s discipline.

But the bottom line is it is an uphill battle, because as mom’s custodial time goes down, so does her child support, and that is frequently her reason for fighting a change in custody. That, combined with the courts resistance to change, makes changing child custody an uphill battle.

This is also why some moms use Parental Alienation to increase their hold over their kids. It’s a brutal, emotionally traumatizing action, and it effects the child as much as it effects the dad.

Child custody battles are not right, fair or even intelligent, but they are the way they are. And men need to know the facts about changing custody and visitation, and to fight for their rights on those grounds.

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