It is much easier to get sole legal from the get go, rather than via a modification, because once there is a stipulation or order in place, the court will require a proof of change in circumstances that will justify the modification;
Also the family code does state that there is a general preference for joint legal custody.
However, with that being said, the courts are primarily concerned with the "best interests of the child" which gives them great leeway when making/modifying orders; as such, one can file a request for modification (form fl 300) and attach a declaration stating the reason for the request (ie missed doctor appointments, refusal to consent to medical procedures already authorized by court order, declarations from school officials re: the children being sent to school while ill etc)
For some reason I cannot attach this, but if you google
Santa Barbara Family Law Sample Declaration Child Custody
the court (and it can be modified for use in any court) has a great sample declaration, along with instructions. That can help get all the evidence before the judge.
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