Modifications of Texas Child Custody Orders
Whether the issue is about changing child support payments based on a change in income, or changing the custody and visitation arrangements because of relocation, we can help you find a solution to meet your needs. Whenever possible, we help our clients negotiate acceptable agreements. With over 15 years of experience as an active and successful trial lawyer, Kathleen Collins is willing and able to represent you at trial. We aggressively pursue our clients'' interests at every stage of the case.
Custody Orders are living documents, changing as your children grow, parents remarry, new employment or career goals materialize it might become necessary to change the Court Orders regarding your children. Modification of Conservatorship (Custody), visitation schedules, where you can live etc., could be a costly adventure. Call us today to learn more about your options. A modification is a new lawsuit, carrying an emotional cost and a financial cost. First, try to work things out with the other parent, if an agreement is possible, it is better for everyone.
Unfortunately, there are people who never will agree, or, if they happen to agree, will not live up to their agreement. If this is your case a compromise is hopeless, you must seek a modification of your current Order.
You will have to prove (1) material and substantial change in circumstances of a party or the child(ren); and (2). the requested modification would be in the best interest of the child(ren). The challenge is to demonstrate to your fact finder (the judge or the jury) your desired modification of conservatorship, visitation or possession schedule, geographical restriction, rights of a parent conservator, or other right, duty or obligation you judge necessitates modification, is in the "best interest" of your children.
Common Modification Requests
Geographical Restrictions: Modification of a geographical restriction is one of the leading requested modifications. If you want to move to another state, city or country, you first need to consider the consequences to your children and their relationship to the other parent. Some important factors will be: what kind of relationship exists between the children and the other parent now, does he/she currently exercise his/her visitations with the children, does he/she pay child support per your current Order, how old are your children and have you considered transportation options for your children so that they can visit with their father/mother.
Modification of Primary Conservator: Every aspect of a divorce is stressful, but possibly nothing is tougher than determining custody and visitation. If the parties cannot agree, the court or jury must determine whether the children's best interests are served by staying with their mother or their father. Texas has two primary types of custody/conservatorships, Joint Managing Conservatorship, in which the parents make decisions about the child's upbringing together, is the default arrangement. In this scenario, the Primary Joint Managing Conservator is the parent who receives child support and determines where the child lives. But in some cases, a Sole Managing Conservatorship can be imposed, in which one parent makes all the major decisions about the child's upbringing.
Factors the judge or jury will use to determine Best Interests of a child
- The desires of the child;
- The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
- The emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
- The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
- The programs available to assist theses individuals to promote the best interests of the child;
- The plans for the child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody;
- The stability of the home or proposed placement;
- The acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
- Any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent
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