There are numerous reasons that a parent may be considering modifying an existing Texas child custody order. In the event that you and the other parent agree to the changes, the process of modifying the order will be made much easier. More often than not, however, parents may disagree about the best course of action regarding present orders. Since contested child custody modifications can be rather complex, it’s recommended that you communicate with an experienced family lawyer to help you.
In order to convince the court that a child custody modification is needed, there are several factors you need to evaluate first. You must be able to show the court that the changes requested are in the best interests of the child or children.
In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate that circumstances surrounding the children or parents have substantially or materially changed, although there are exemptions to this requirement. For example, if the home parent has allowed another individual to maintain primary custody of the children for at least six months or if the child is a minimum of 12 years old and has informed the judge about his or her preference for living, a child custody modification may also be granted. If the home parent has given another individual primary custody of the child for a minimum of six months due to an active-duty military deployment, your situation does not meet the qualifications for modifying an order on these grounds alone.
There are numerous situations that may fit the guidelines for a substantial or material change. If one parent has remarried, if a parent has changed residences or is planning a change in residence, if a medical condition is adversely impacting a parent’s ability to work and function on a daily basis, or if a parent has convictions or criminal acts impacting their parenting, child custody modifications can be granted. To discuss the specifics of your case, consult directly with a lawyer.
If it has been less than a year since your child custody orders were given to you, you also need to submit additional documentation to the court. This documentation should address one or more of the following allegations:
- That the current environment for the child may endanger his or her physical health or emotional development;
- That the custodial parent is voluntarily relinquishing custody and care of the child, with such a modification being in the child’s best interests;
- That the custodial parent is the one seeking the modification, which would be in the best interests of the child.
Child custody modification cases frequently arise when the situation of a family changes considerably. The outcome of a child custody modification request can have a serious impact on the development of your child, your opportunities to spend time with the child, and the child’s personal well-being. When you and the other parent are not able to agree on the terms of a modification, you should schedule a consultation with a Texas family law attorney sooner rather than later to get the representation and help you need.
If you have any additional questions regarding child custody, call our office at 817-953-9656 to make an appointment with Cade Lovelace or Jennifer Lovelace for a free consultation.