You have child custody terms that worked to one extent or another when the court handed them down to you, but they may not make much sense for your family anymore. Texas courts recognize that your family’s needs change, and this is why they make child custody modifications available when specific requirements are met.
If You and Your Ex Are on the Same Page
If you need to make a change to your child custody arrangements and both you and your ex are on board, the court will very likely agree to your request. While it may be tempting to leave well enough alone and simply make your mutually acceptable changes without notifying the court, this can backfire. The court’s child support rulings remain valid until they are legally modified, which means that if a problem arises in the future, you will have no legal standing if you are determined to be non-compliant.
The Court’s Position
The court’s position when it comes to decisions that relate to child custody always focuses on the following:
First and foremost, the children’s best interests are considered. (click here to learn more about the children's bill of rights and how it affects your custody situation)
If your circumstances have changed significantly, the court will take this under advisement.
The court is generally interested in maintaining the status quo for children – in an effort to bolster stability – which means that it is unlikely to modify your child custody arrangements without a compelling reason for doing so.
Common Reasons for Child Support Modifications
While judges write child support modifications for any number of reasons, there are some that commonly apply.
Your Ex Refuses to Adhere to the Custody Terms
When the judge in your case signed off on your initial custody terms, he or she meant business. Judges do not take kindly to parents who simply ignore their orders and go rogue. If your ex is not following the child custody order you have in place; you can ask the judge in your case to address the matter with a child custody modification.
Does your child not want to visit your Ex? Read this article to learn how to handle this. (If Your Child Does Not Want to Visit Your Ex)
Your Children’s Needs Have Changed
As your children grow, their needs obviously evolve. While your children may have gone to after-school daycare when your current order was written, they may currently be driving themselves to after-school jobs. The court recognizes children’s changing needs and will generally accommodate them with appropriate child custody modifications.
You Are Moving for a Better Job Opportunity
If you are the primary custodial parent and you are planning to move to take advantage of a job opportunity, for example, the court will likely see the move as a substantial change if it affects your ex’s ability to see your shared children as consistently. Conversely, if the move will provide your children with increased opportunities, such as an improved school system, closer proximity to their extended family, or any other benefit, the judge will likely balance this against the matter of less-convenient visitation with the other parent. (read more about divorce and your children's school)
An Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Can Help
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a dedicated divorce attorney with expansive experience helping clients like you. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.