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Ask a Divorce Attorney – Post Judgment Enforcement/Modification

Enforcement of Child Custody Orders

Orders regarding custody and visitation of children are meant to be followed and fashioned by the court in a way that makes following them most advantageous to the children–not necessarily what is most convenient or desirable for the parents. As a result, many parents often find themselves in situations wherein the other parent refuses to comply with the child custody orders.

It is a common misconception that a non-custodial parent is required by law to exercise court ordered visitation. In fact, court ordered visitation is a right, but not a legal requirement. As such, a custodial parent cannot force a non-custodial parent to exercise his or her parenting time. The remedy in a situation like this would be for the custodial parent to file a motion to modify visitation to conform to what is actually exercised by the non-custodial parent and then to potentially request an increase in child support due to the non-custodial parent’s lack of involvement.

When the inverse is true, and the custodial parent is frustrating or not allowing the court ordered visits with the non-custodial parent to proceed, then he or she is violating a court order. The remedy in a situation like this may be to file a motion for the court to change custody to the non-custodial parent or to file a contempt action against the custodial parent for willful violation of court orders.

Modification of Child Custody Orders

Once a permanent order for child custody and visitation is made by a family court judge, that order is generally only modifiable in the future if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made. A change in circumstances would be anything that could potentially have an effect on the current co-parenting plan. It could be that the non-custodial parent’s work schedule has changed to allow for more frequent visits. It could be that the child has graduated from grade school to high-school and his or her level of maturity or connection with one parent or the other has changed. There are many facts and situations that may arise that may or may not be considered by the court to constitute a material and significant change in circumstances. Generally, so long as it has been a significant period of time since the last orders were made, the court will allow for the motion to modify to proceed. The focus is always going to be to ensure that any orders made are in the best interest of the children.

Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
We deliver results
I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego