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How can I change my custody agreement?

Thousand Oaks, CA |

I have two sons 3 and 5. My ex is very non negotiable when it comes to the kids and what they do on everything. He has taken them to dentist and dra apts without letting me know he will never switch me days when I'd either like or need. I'd like to move my kids out of San Diego county to have a family atmosphere with my kids and my fiancé and he won't agree to one mile outside the county. He won't talk abt anything to provide extra activities for them bc he just doesn't want to take them and he offers no extra help when it comes to money that if I lives with my fiancé would help. He never has them in an environment that is family and I want that for my kids but am unable to do that since I can't move my kids out of San Diego county. He also never lets me talk to my sons when he has them.

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Attorney answers 2


You'll need to file a motion to modify the custody order with the Court. You should talk about the process with an attorney who is licensed to practice in California.

In the meantime, you should be sure to document all of the things you're talking about. I always advise people to avoid talking on the phone with their co-parents, if they're being difficult. Communicate by email instead: that way, you have a written record of everything everyone says. And because you're anticipating that someone like a judge will eventually be looking at that record, you should be as reasonable as possible. Always be scrupulously polite and honest, even if the other person is not. Remember, you're not really just writing to them; you're writing to the judge, for later. Custody cases end up as a sort of 'reasonableness contest' - your job is to appear more reasonable than the other guy. Avoid threats, name-calling, and accusations. Focus on your children and their needs. Don't let the other parent push you around, but don't react to their hostility in kind. Every rude or dishonest word that the other parent makes is a little gift to you, if it's done in a recordable way.

Nothing posted on this site is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:



Thank u'n

Edna Carroll Straus

Edna Carroll Straus


I mostly agree with this statement--especially "Always be scrupulously polite and honest, even if the other person is not" and "Focus on your children and their needs". but rememebr any fight about who is right and who is wrong hurts the children. No one gets a perfect spouse, a perfect ex-spouse. a perfect marriage, a perfect divorce--or a perfect childhood. The issues you describe are not anywhere hear what fighting will likely cause. Read other posts here if you doubt the sorts of issues many are tangled in. Court cause much of this. Really well done mediation might improve communication between you and your ex. Just a thought.


It sounds like you should file a request to modify the current custody order. Whether or not you file in Ventura County or San Diego will depend on where the original court case was there or here (if there was a court case originally).

If there is a current order and you have joint legal custody it is standard for such an order to include a provision requiring the custodial parent to consult with the noncustodial parent about medical decisions (such as the doctors appointments you are talking about). Also, if there is a current order, it should indicate if the children are to be allowed phone contact with the noncustodial parent.

If there is a current order and it's a final order (some are and some aren't), then you may have to prove that there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" in order to modify the custodial arrangement. Has anything changed since the last custody order was made (if there is one)?

If you have any questions feel free to give me a call at 805-482-1170, I am near you in Camarillo, CA.

This and other interactions through Avvo do not constitute an attorney-client relationship and are made for informational purposes only. No guarantees are made.

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