Parents always maintain the right to go back to the court to change custody arrangements after their divorce is final. The real question is whether the court will grant a request for modification of your order. Courts do not want to force children to live in a bad situation when their custodial parent’s circumstances change, but neither do they want to move children back and forth between parents without good cause. As a result, the changes that warrant a modification of custody must usually be material, substantial and occur in the home in which the child is living.

Changing child custody after divorce when both parents agree to the change is a relatively simple matter. Each person would sign an agreement outlining the new arrangement and it would be submitted to the Court for a judge to approve.

However, if both parents do not consent to the change, the one who wants custody of the children will need to bring a Motion for Modification before the Court. In order to be successful in a Motion for Modification changing custody after divorce, you will need to prove that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” that is detrimental to the child. This means you will need to gather evidence that you, or a lawyer acting on your behalf, can present to a judge. Therefore, you will need a very good reason for the change and should be specific about what you are asking for.

The family law attorneys at The Zhou Law Group, APC can help you change the current custody arrangement to file the appropriate documents with the court and will assist you in obtaining the child custody modifications you desire.  To arrange a free 1/2 hour initial consultation, call (408)289-9688, or contact us online at