During your divorce proceedings, you were required to come to several key agreements, from child custody and child support to spousal support and the division of assets. During and immediately following divorce, these decisions can feel extremely permanent. This sense of permanence can quickly become overwhelming, especially as you anticipate the potential changes life can bring. Some people begin to fear the consequences they may face if they can no longer uphold the terms of the divorce agreement.
However, you may be surprised—the Texas family court system recognizes how easily the circumstances of an individual’s life can change. In fact, change is to be expected at every turn. If you find yourself experiencing a change in life circumstances that impact your ability to uphold the terms of your divorce agreement, you have an invaluable resource within the family court system—the post-divorce modification.
In order to successfully modify your divorce agreement, you must prove that a modification is a necessary measure. To express this necessity to a judge, you’ll need to demonstrate one of several approved qualifications. At this juncture, it is crucial to work with a Texas family law attorney with a deep understanding of Texas divorce and child custody laws, as well the intricacies of post-divorce modifications. Consult the information below, then call on the skilled family law attorneys at The Love DuCote Law Firm to discuss your case.
What Are the Criteria for a Custody Modification in TX?
There are a number of reasons a judge may allow a modification to your original custody agreement. Before you begin pursuing a modification to your Texas custody agreement, it is critical to ensure you qualify. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you meet the necessary standards:
- Is a parent planning to relocate to a different state?
- Has your child recently turned 12 and expressed their desire for a modification to the custody agreement? A judge may be willing to take the child’s input into account.
- Has one of the parents remarried since the custody agreement was determined?
- Has there recently been a substantial change in a parent’s financial circumstances, including unemployment? Could these changes impact that parent’s ability to pay child support?
- Has there recently been a significant change in the child’s own schedule? How could this impact custody or visitation?
- Have a parent’s medical needs started to impact their ability to care for the child?
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of circumstances that would lead to a custody modification. Every family has its own unique circumstances and yours will be considered carefully by the judge prior to issue of a modification. If you believe that a modification to your custody agreement is necessary, schedule a consultation with an experienced family law or child custody attorney.
Relocation and Custody Modifications
A parent’s relocation is perhaps one of the most common reasons a custody modification might be requested. In particular, modification may become necessary when a parent is moving out of Texas and into a new state.
It is no surprise that such a significant move can severely complicate the existing child custody arrangement. While sharing custody of the child is fairly simple when the parents live relatively near one another, scheduling visitation or split custody is more difficult when one parent decides to move far away. At times, the remaining parent may even wish to remove custody from the moving parent altogether.
However, although sharing custody is now more complicated, it doesn’t necessarily mean the moving parent must forfeit custody of their child. Judges determine custody, whether it is related to a modification, with the best interests of the child in mind. As a result, the family court will assess each relocation and modification on a case-by-case basis before determining which arrangement will be most beneficial to the child.
It is critical to hire a skilled post-divorce modification attorney to help you thoroughly explain your need for a modification and how it pertains to the best interests of your child. You are more likely to arrive at a favorable modification that suits the needs of your family with expert guidance through the court proceedings.
How Long Do I Need to Wait Before Requesting a Custody Modification in TX?
Sometimes, one or both parents are dissatisfied with the initial custody agreement. If this occurs, it can be tempting to jump directly into the process of requesting a modification once the divorce decree is finalized. Is it possible to modify a custody agreement immediately, post-divorce? Or, is there a waiting period you must observe before you can qualify for a custody modification?
Generally speaking, Texas parents are required to wait at least one year before a divorce agreement can be modified. This countdown begins the day that the original custody agreement is issued. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. You may be permitted to request a modification before a full year has passed if:
- Both parents agree that the modification should occur.
- The current primary caregiver of the child, in place for a minimum of six months, isn’t the same individual who was granted primary custody. An exception exists for parents currently deployed by the US military.
- The child is currently in an environment where their physical or emotional health is at risk.
Where Do I Request a Modification?
If you believe you qualify for a custody modification, your first step is to determine where to file. In most cases, you’ll be filing your request in the same county that issued the initial custody order.
If the child has since moved out of that county, the requesting parent can file a Motion for Transfer along with the modification request. This way, it is possible to simultaneously request modification as well as movement of the case to the child’s current county of residence. However, if the child no longer lives in Texas, you may need to file the request in the child’s new state of residence.
Custody Modifications in Sugar Land, Texas
Working with a respected family law attorney will give you the strongest possible chance of receiving a post-divorce modification. The child custody lawyers at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC have extensive experience in child custody and visitation, including post-divorce modifications. If you live in Sugar Land, Katy, Houston, Fort Bend County or Harris County, Texas, get in touch with our firm to schedule a personalized consultation.