Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Is it time to seek a modification of your custody order?

Before issuing child custody orders, family courts generally consider the family situation and other factors. The goal is to achieve a custody and visitation plan that suits the best interests of the child. You may be among the many divorced and separated parents who have adapted your life to comply with a custody order. However, you may wonder if it is time for a change.

The last thing you want to do is to take matters into your own hands by altering the custody plan without legal advice. Even if you and your ex agree to make changes, you may be opening yourself to serious complications if you do not have the court's authorization. Instead, it is wise to understand how to request a modification of your order and whether your reasons for seeking a modification are valid.

Why change?

Courts are not quick to change custody orders, particularly if the reasons for the change reflect the desires of the parents and not the interests of the child. On the other hand, most judges understand that circumstances change, children grow and their needs evolve. What worked at the time of your divorce may no longer work for your child. However, you may be facing more urgent reasons for wanting a change of your parenting orders, such as:

  • Your child's custodial parent has died, and you wish to assume full custody.
  • You are struggling with your ex's refusal to comply with the court-ordered schedule.
  • Your child is older and has expressed a desire to change the custody situation.
  • You believe your child may be in danger from abuse or other circumstances in your ex's home.
  • You or your ex plans to relocate to a location that is distant enough to disrupt the current custody schedule.

Relocation is a tricky subject, and family courts are not always approving of parents who wish to move away, either with or without the children. This often creates a damaging disruption to a child's life, so you should prepare to defend your choice to move and provide a plan to allow your ex access to the children as regularly as possible. On the other hand, if your ex intends to move away with the children, your fight should include strong reasons why the child will benefit from staying put.

No matter your reasons for seeking a modification of your child custody orders, you may have a challenging task ahead of you. You may benefit from the sound advice and representation of an experienced Texas attorney.

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