Family counselors and therapists agree that children cope better with a divorce when they maintain a strong, loving relationship with both parents. California family court judges favor such arrangements and typically incorporate ample visitation for the non-custodial parent as they apply the ‘best interest of the child” standard in establishing final orders. However, there may come a time when one parent questions whether the court-ordered visitation plan has to be followed.

Legal experts emphasize that the welfare of the children is always paramount. Therefore, if there is a real danger in maintaining the prearranged schedule, it can be abandoned. Under circumstances of physical or sexual abuse from the other parent or from someone who the kids come in contact with during visitation, the other parent should suspend visitation and get into court as soon as possible to seek a modification of the order.

Most issues, however, are less serious and more typically revolve around different parenting styles. For instance, eating less than healthy meals or staying up late on a school night are not reasons to withhold visitation. It’s generally a good idea for the two parents to follow a similar regimen with the kids. In some cases, a calm discussion can help resolve the issue. If the issue is more serious, however, and there is no agreement on how to resolve the problem, then it may be time to go back to court.

A divorce order does not have to be final. If circumstances change, a family law attorney can help with a child custody modification. The resulting changes could be better for everyone involved.