Unforeseeable changes in your life or your children’s lives can lead you to ask the court to modify the custody and visitation schedule. Keep in mind that, just as during the creation of your initial order, the best interests of your children will be the main factor the judge will use to determine if your request is reasonable.
Reason #1: Your Child Could Be in Danger
This is one of the most common reasons for granting a modification to an existing child custody and visitation order. The judge will consider whether there exists the potential for domestic violence in the home and how immediate the danger is. The judge will also consider the child’s fear of staying in that parent’s home, and will potentially consider the testimony of experts.
Reason #2: One Parent Is Moving
When a move makes it impossible for parents to adhere to the current schedule, the judge will look at why the parent wants or needs to move and whether the move will significantly interrupt the child’s life. The decision will be the result of a balancing act of all the factors involved. It is important to know up front that the judge could find it too disruptive to move your children with you.
Reason #3: Your Ex Constantly Violates the Current Schedule
If the other parent is not following the existing plan, something needs to change. Your children deserve to have stability and predictability in their lives. If one parent promises to spend time with them and doesn’t show up or constantly cancels, that is not good for you or the children. The judge will look at the underlying reasons for why the current schedule isn’t working and look for a better solution that puts your children’s well-being first.
Reason #4: One Parent Has Died
What many parents don’t realize is that sole custody does not automatically revert to the living parent. The judge will still need to determine whether the living parent, and not a third party like a grandparent or other relative, is better suited to step in for the deceased parent.
Seek Help for a Custody Modification Request
Only you can decide if seeking a custody modification is worth the court’s involvement and the disruption to your children’s current living situation. We encourage you to weigh your options. And, if you have questions about whether modifying a custody or visitation order is an option for you, reach out to one of our Texas family law attorneys for advice.