When you went through your divorce, you and your divorcing spouse likely put a good deal of time and emotion into hammering out your child custody arrangements. After all, your children's ongoing well-being and happiness is your primary concern, and these arrangements are often the most hotly contested issue in any divorce involving children. There are several valid reasons you might consider modifying your custody orders after the fact.
Your Evolving Circumstances
The child custody arrangements with which you came away from your divorce addressed your children’s best interests at the time, but children have this habit of growing up – and their needs change. Once your children begin driving and obtain part-time jobs of their own, for example, maintaining a highly structured visitation schedule with either one of you can become extremely inconvenient. There is no reason to force your lives into the scheduling template that applied when your children were young – when you have the legal option of modifying your child custody arrangements.
Modifying Your Arrangements
In the State of Texas, you can seek a child custody modification at any time, and you do not need to wait a predetermined number of years before doing so. Your modification must be made in the county in which your divorce was granted. If your children are currently living in a different county; however, your case will need to be transferred to that new county. If you and your ex are in agreement regarding the change in arrangements, it is still essential to make the change with the court by submitting a proposed custody order with the proposed changes included, which is a reasonably efficient process.
If You and Your Ex Are in Disagreement on the Matter
If you are looking for a modification to your child custody arrangements and your children's other parent is not on board, the process is more complicated. As the parent who is moving for the modification, you will need to go before the judge and demonstrate that one of the following applies:
- The child in question is at least 12 years old and wishes to change his or her primary custodial parent.
- You have experienced material and substantial change in circumstances that has prompted your request. This change can include such things as a job relocation, a new marriage, a severe medical condition, abuse or neglect, substance abuse, and other changes of this magnitude.
- Your proposed changes are in the best interest of your children at present.
Discuss Your Modification Concerns with an Experienced Attorney
Ensuring that your child custody arrangements continue to work for you and your children is important, and attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to helping you move forward with arrangements that address you and your children's unique needs. Your modification needs are paramount to us, so please contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.