Certain orders are modifiable by the California courts after a final judgment has been made. Modifications are also called "Request for Orders" or "RFO's" and "Ex-Parte" motions.
The most common areas for modification include child custody/visitation orders, child support orders, and spousal support orders; however other orders may also be changed. A modification may be requested at any time as long as there has been a change of circumstance.
There are 2 types of modifications:
Emergency Modification: Depending on which court your case is assigned to, your first hearing will be assigned within 3-5 days. In order to have your case considered for an emergency, you must provide reasoning (and preferably proof) of a situation that is clear to require the judge's immediate attention. If the judge agrees that the request is an emergency, he/she will issue orders that day. Those orders will be effective immediately and will carry you until your general hearing. The general hearing is typically 30 days out from the date of the emergency hearing.
General Modification: Hearings are typically set 30 days out. Upon the general set hearing date, the judge will either grant orders or refer both parties to mediation before they are to report back to him/her. Mediation is where a court appointed mediator will sit with both parties and attempt to reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached at mediation, the mediator will have both parties sign it right then and there. That agreement will be sent to the judge so that at the next hearing date, upon confirmation of both parties, the judge will make the agreement an order. If at the mediation there is no agreement reached, the mediator will submit their report to the judge entailing what the mediator feels is a fair order for the court to make. At the next scheduled meeting, the judge will consider the mediator's report when making his/her orders.