California Appellate Court Clarifies the Standard Necessary for Modification of Parenting Or Visitation Arrangement

On October 30, 2017m the 2nd District Court of Appeal in the case of In re Marriage of Furie 2017 Cal.Ap.. LEXIS 946 held that a “change of circumstances” is not necessary to modify a parenting or visitation arrangement not amount to a change of custody.

Although the requested modification in that case involved was the mother requesting to have sole authority concerning the orthodontic care for the children, the Appellate Court explained that the “change of circumstances” rule would apply if the requested change was to change legal or physical custody, such as changing from join to sole and vice versa.  The court found that legal custody remained joint, while only authority over decisions concerning orthodontic care changed.  As such, the court ruled that the proper standard to apply is the “best interests of the child.”

Based on this ruling, changes to timeshare while maintaining joint physical custody will not require a showing of “change in circumstances” and the court will be free to make a ruling based on the “best interests of the child.”

While, this may open up more litigation because parties will be more inclined to file for modifications, it is what is best for the child, because if prior orders did not serve the best interest of the child, they should be modified.  At the end of the day, what is best for the child should override any other concern or issue.

© 2018 Marina Manoukian