Modifying Child Custody

Modifying Child Custody in Thousand Oaks

Child Custody Lawyer for Modifications in Westlake Village


A temporary child custody order pending the trial of a family law case does not require the person seeking a modification of the temporary order to show at trial a change of circumstance to modify the order, even an agreed temporary ordered stipulated by both parents. 

            Once the Court determines that a custody order is a permanent order, "[t]he burden of showing a sufficient change in circumstances is on the party seeking the change in custody." 

            Change of circumstances need not be proved if no prior custody order exists, but stability should be considered by the Court.  If there is no prior determination of custody by the Court, then there is no preexisting circumstances to be compared to new circumstances by the judge. The trial court judge has no alternative but to look at all the circumstances bearing upon the best interests of the child.

When circumstances change, it is important you speak with an attorney in regards to modifying the terms of your child custody or visitation agreement.

Changes that can facilitate modifications include:

  • Relocation out of the county or out of state
  • Losing a job or gaining new employment
  • Serious medical issues
  • Instances of abuse, neglect, or other dangerous circumstances for the child
  • What is in the child's best interests or the child's preferences
  • Other changes of circumstance

During the life of a child custody arrangement between two parents, circumstances can change. This means that it may be necessary to revisit the terms of the parties' custody order. The process of requesting a modification may be difficult if one parent is against the idea, or extremely simple if the desire to modify the arrangement is mutual. The Thousand Oaks & Westlake Village family law attorneys at Richard Ross Associates have handled hundreds of child custody agreements  and orders over our 40 years in practice.

Contact the Team at Richard Ross Associates Today

Searching for an experienced child custody lawyer in Westlake Village, CA? In order to win a custody or visitation case, you will need an attorney who can skillfully build your case to prove that your child's best interests lie with you having custody or visitation rights. Contact Richard Ross Associates to learn how we can provide such capable representation. Attorney Ross has over 40 years of experience in family law and is a board-certified family law specialist. Speak with us today to set up your case evaluation with a Thousand Oaks child custody attorney who can fight for the custody order that you and your child deserve.

If you need to change the terms of your custody order due to non-compliance of the other parent, or circumstances have changed and an amicable agreement is not possible, a motion or petition to modify must be filed with the court. There are several factors to present in a pleading in order to successfully move the court to modify an existing agreement, and the most important factor in the case will be that the modification will be in the best interests of the children.

Limitations on physical custody which were put in place may be lifted if the reasons for those limitations have been eliminated. If you are seeking to limit the other parent's physical custody or their legal custody rights, we highly recommend and urge you to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Thousand Oaks child custody attorney. The courts do not easily agree to limiting time with one parent or another, as the state's intentions are always to foster a relationship with both parents and their children.

Doing What's Right for You and Your Children

At Richard Ross Associates, we  are dedicated to helping parents stay in contact with their children, when it is in the best interests of the children. We also understand that you know your children better than anyone else. We will always strive to help you do what's best for your children and achieve an arrangement that fits their needs as well as yours. Contact us today to learn more about your options.


  • I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.

    “I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”

  • Our family and our dignity have been restored.

    “Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”

  • The results far exceeded my expectations.

    “The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”

  • Extremely thorough and professional!

    “Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”

  • Polite, caring, and quick to respond.

    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.