When parents divorce or break up, they will have to split their time with the children and their responsibilities to them. Both during a divorce or a breakup of unmarried parents, negotiating custody arrangements is often a top priority.
Parents sometimes work with one another to settle custody matters. Other times, they have to ask a Texas family law judge to split up their rights and responsibilities. Either a negotiated settlement or litigated custody proceedings will result in a court-approved custody order.
Eventually, the terms set in that order will become obsolete no matter how carefully you try to plan. How do you change a custody order when it no longer addresses your family’s needs?
You have the right to request a modification
A custody order creates legal obligations between two parents both to one another and to the children. Parents have to communicate with one another and adhere to the schedule outlined in their custody order. They need to provide health insurance or other forms of support, the division of which is often a reflection of their parenting time.
If your household circumstances changed substantially, you can ask the courts to change your custody order. As with your initial custody dispute, you have the option of filing a contested or uncontested modification request.
In an uncontested request, you communicate with your ex and you agree that certain changes are necessary. You file paperwork with the courts not to change your parenting plan but rather to have those changes made official. If you and your ex don’t agree about the potential changes, then you will likely need to file for a contested modification hearing.
What must you show in a contested modification request?
If you want to make a change to your custody order but your ex does not, a judge will make the final decision. Just like when you initially litigated the custody matters in your divorce, the focus will be on what is best for the children. Properly framing any modification request by focusing on the impact it will have on the children can increase your chances of success.
Learning about the custody modification process can empower you to be more present and active in the life of your children after your relationship with their other parent ends.