Determining child custody can be tough for any family. It’s hard on parents, who are divorced, the children, who may not be handling the divorce well and any extended family members who are involved.
After the visitation schedule is determined, one parent might feel like the court didn’t grant them enough time to spend with their child, and they want to modify the visitation schedule. On the other hand, one parent might realize that their current situation is not ideal for their child and they want to modify the custody order to grant their ex-spouse full custody.
By seeking help from a family lawyer as well as following the typical protocol, a parent may be able to successfully modify an order, ensuring everyone involved is satisfied with the situation.
How Is Child Custody Determined in the First Place?
The parents can come to any agreements that they believe are in the best interests of their child. However, if the parents cannot come to any agreements, a court will decide who gets custody as well as the terms of the custodial rights and duties by first and foremost looking at what’s in the best interests of the child. For instance, if the mother is staying in the same house the child grew up in but the father is moving to a different state, the court may say that the child should stay with their mother because it’s less disruptive to their life.
In terms of the best interests, the court will evaluate each parent’s situation at home. If the mother is living in an unsafe neighborhood and she has a drinking problem, the father could potentially get full custody. The court will weigh many factors including whether or not a parent is the primary caretaker, if they are mentally, emotionally, and physically stable, how conducive their home is to a child, how close the child is to their school and how much time the child will get to spend with other family members.
Changing a Child Custody Agreement
Let’s say that you weren’t stable during your divorce – perhaps you lost your job and couldn’t find a home in a good neighborhood or you were dealing with mental health issues – and the court gave your spouse full custody. But now, you moved to a better neighborhood, you got therapy and you are the best version of yourself and believe you can adequately provide for your child.
Or, perhaps you have full custody but you recently got a job offer 3,000 miles away. With this job, you can save enough money to send your child to the college of their dreams. However, you don’t want your child to separated from your ex-spouse, extended family members and friends, and would prefer that your ex-spouse gets custody instead.
Whatever the case, you can modify a child custody order. If you and your ex-spouse are in agreement, the process will certainly be easier. You’ll need to petition the court to change the child custody order, and the court will either approve it or deny it.
If your ex-spouse contests the change, then it could be more difficult to modify the child custody order. You’ll need to come to court with proof that your situation changed along with reasons why you believe a change would be in the best interests of your child.
You can also change the child custody order if your ex-spouse has violated the court order. For instance, maybe they took your child out of the country without notifying you beforehand or they didn’t let your child come to you for the holidays, even though that’s what you stipulated in your legal agreement. You could petition the court to change it for those violations as well.
Before you go to court, as hard as it may be, try to keep it as civil as possible with your ex-spouse. If you send angry text messages to them or threaten them, for example, that could be used against you in court. Even if you have a tumultuous past, try to keep it as amicable as possible. If you can’t keep it civil, then a family lawyer could step in and assist you.
The Hearing for a Child Custody Modification
If you’re the parent who wishes to modify the order, you’ll need to come up with evidence as to why you want to change it, or evidence that your ex-spouse violated your court order. The violation may not lead to a modification. It’ll all depend on what the court believes is in the best interests of the child.
Finding a Family Lawyer to Help
Modifying child custody orders can be an extremely emotional and taxing process. You may have trouble navigating the legalities, including collecting evidence, filling out court forms and attending hearings. An experienced family lawyer can assist you every step of the way, ensuring that your interests are represented and your child has the best chance of having a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Getting in Touch with Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC
The child custody attorneys at Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC are here to help you modify your child custody order. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and determine if we’re the right fit when it comes to your child custody case in Texas. We’re standing by and ready to answer all your questions, as well as address your concerns, in this difficult time.