Appellant, C.T. (Mother), appealed a child custody order changing primary physical custody of her 12-year-old son, A.B., from Mother in California to A.B.’s father, respondent, R.B. (Father), in Arkansas. A.B. has lived with Mother since his birth in 2006. Mother and Father (Parents) separated in 2007. The trial court entered a final child custody order in 2010, with Mother’s home ordered A.B.’s primary residence. In 2011, Father moved from California to Arkansas and has been living with his parents (Grandparents). In 2017, Mother and Father both requested sole physical custody of A.B. Mother contends Father failed to meet his burden of establishing that moving A.B. to Arkansas would not cause detriment to A.B., and that the change in physical custody was in A.B.’s best interests. The California Court of Appeal agreed.
It is settled law that ordering a change in custody requires a persuasive showing of changed circumstances affecting the child. (Jane J. v. Superior Court (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 894 , 902.) Such a change must be substantial. A trial court shall not remove a child from the prior custody of one parent and give custody to the other unless there are material facts and circumstances occurring after the prior custody order that “‘“‘are of a kind to render it essential or expedient for the welfare of the child that there be a change.’ [Citation.] T
The reasons for the rule are clear: ‘It is well established that the courts are reluctant to order a change of custody and will not do so except for imperative reasons; that it is desirable that there be an end of litigation and undesirable to change the child’s established mode of living.’ [Citation.]”’” (Christina L. v. Chauncey B. (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 731, 738.); accord, Jane J., supra, at p. 902, italics added.) As noted in Jane J., supra, at page 903, “It is not enough to argue that it is time to switch sides to give the other parent the opportunity to take control. [Citation.]”
The California Court of Appeal therefore reversed the child custody order awarding Father primary physical custody.
If you are involved in an acrimonious type divorce, custody battle, or family law matter, you need an experienced and capable attorney on your side. Contact the Law Office of Robert Rodriguez!
Robert Rodriguez has litigated well over 100 family law cases and civil litigation matters including personal injury motor vehicle cases, dog bite and slip & fall cases, breach of contract, defamation & invasion of privacy, fraud, unfair business practice, malicious prosecution, wrongful termination, workplace and employment matters including sexual harassment, wage & hour violations, discrimination pursuant to the FEHA, Gov’t Code §§ 12940 et seq., violations of the FMLA & Pregnancy Leave, Civil Rights discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the State of California and California federal district courts.
* Disclaimer – Robert Rodriguez is licensed to practice only in the State of California & this analysis is applied only under State of California law. Robert D. Rodriguez is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts, Central, Northern & Eastern Districts of California. Robert Rodriguez has practiced in the State of California Court of Appeal.