When you need a change to the current court orders, run, don’t walk to the court house. The current orders continue in full force and effect until they are changed by the judge. It often takes more than a month to get new orders. If you do not comply with the current court orders, you can be ordered to appear in court to explain why you aren’t following the order. If the judge doesn’t agree with your reason, you can end up paying large fines or spend time in jail, in addition to following with the current order. If the court order is about visitation then the police or sheriff can be called in to enforce the current orders.

Please schedule a FREE initial consultation to see how I can help you with a change of orders.

If your situation changes from what is was when the order was issued, it is important to IMMEDIATELY seek a new court order if you think you might have any problems continuing to comply with the current orders.

New orders are rarely applied retroactively. For instance, if you lost your job 3 months ago and are just now filing for a modification, the judge is NOT allowed to go back to the day you lost your job and decide you do not have to pay for those three months. The judge can only go back to the date you filed your Request for Order.

“Modifications” are any change to the current court orders. Modifications are only allowed when there is a “change of circumstances,” except in cases where the judge ordered child support that is lower than the guideline amount for child support.


1. CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION is appropriate when:

(a) there is a change in the amount of visitation of a parent;

(b) there is a significant change in the income of one of the parents; or

(c) if a parent is not receiving California guideline child support and needs more money to support the child (even if support below guideline was agreed to by both parents).

2. SPOUSAL SUPPORT MODIFICATION is appropriate when there is a change in circumstances such as:

(a) the paying spouse loses their job or has a temporary or permanent reduction in work hours (lie a cut-back in work hours, being laid-off, or injury preventing work);

(b) the supported spouse no longer needs support or remarries; the healthy supported spouse is not making a good faith effort to become self-supporting, then the paying spouse can ask that the support be terminated; or

(c) the paying spouse dies and the Estate of the paying spouse has to continue paying spousal support until the order is terminated due to death of the payor spouse.

3. VISITATION MODIFICATION is appropriate when there is a change in the time allocated to a parent to spend with their child. Visitation is likely to be modified:

(a) if one parent moves away,

(b) there is a new abuse issue (drug/alcohol abuse, or physical abuse) that affects the child, or

(c) the parents are unable to allow a reasonable give-and-take in making informal changes to the court orders.

4. CUSTODY MODIFICATION occurs when a parent is no longer able to properly care for their child, such as:

(a) a parent is incarcerated,

(b) alcohol/drug abuse by a parent,

(c) physical abuse of or around the child, or

(d) prolonged parental illness.


If you are able to agree with the other parent or spouse, then the written agreement can be presented to the court for approval and signature. The stipulated modification will be the new court order.