The circumstances of our lives are rarely static. The passing of time will inevitably bring about new challenges as well as new opportunities. In turn, important decisions must be made as we proceed into the future. All of this is complicated enough when our decisions can be made freely, but for divorced parents with children, this is not always the case.
Divorced parents who hold joint-custody are generally under the legal obligation to divide time with their children in a predetermined manner. Should one or both of the parents find it necessary to modify their child custody orders, certain criteria must be met.
First and foremost, the court can issue a modification if it is determined that such a move is in the best interests of the child. It must also be shown that the circumstances of a parent or child have changed materially and substantially since the time the current order was established. The child must be at minimum 12 years of age and they are to inform the judge, in his or her chambers, of whom they wish to reside with for the majority of the time.
If the custody order you wish to change has been in effect for under a year, you must demonstrate one of the following:
- That the custodial parent is in agreement with the modification and that said modification is in the best interests of the child.
- That child is in some manner physically or emotionally endangered.
- That for at least six months, the custodial parent granted someone else custody of the child and that the modification is in the best interests of the child.
Making changes to a child custody agreement is possible and can be of great benefit to all involved. But in order for this to happen, papers must be filed with the court and the case for making the change must be clearly laid out. If you are in a situation that calls for changing the conditions of your child custody agreement, a Texas family law attorney may be able to help guide you through the process.