Knowledgeable Custody Modification Attorney
Giving You the Tools You Need to Make Informed Decisions For Your Family
When a divorce between two parents is finalized, the court will issue an order that specifies conservatorship and possession and access. If the parents have agreed on these issues prior to the finalization of the divorce, the court will use the couple’s parenting plan for the order. The order must be abided by until the date specified on the orders, typically when the child reaches the age of 18.
However, life changes can make following a court order that is several years old difficult. In some cases, continuing to follow a court order can be detrimental to the family, such as in cases where the conservatorship agreement keeps the child with parent that has become neglectful or abusive. Texas does allow for the modification of child custody orders in certain situations, although the process is often complex and time consuming.
When Can Child Custody Be Modified?
The state of Texas only recognizes the need to modify a custody order in certain situations:
- Both parents agree to modify custody. If the sole managing conservator or a joint managing conservator wishes to transfer custody to the other parent, the court may agree to formally modify the custody arrangement according to the wishes of the parents.
- The child has reached the age of 12 and wishes to live primarily with the other parent. If the child has become old enough to voice his or her wishes since the original custody agreement and wishes to change the arrangement, the court will take this into consideration when modifying the current orders. However, the court must also remain vigilant regarding the best interests of the child and may determine that no changes or partial changes need to be made instead.
- The material circumstances of one parent has changed significantly. If the material circumstances of one parent have changed a great deal, custody may need to be modified. For example, if the sole managing conservator lost his or her job and is unable to find gainful employment quickly, custody may need to be transferred to the other parent for a period of time.
- One parent has become neglectful or abusive. If one parent learns that the other parent has become neglectful or abusive towards the child, he or she can petition the court for an emergency change in custody. Later on after the situation has been fully investigated, the new primary custodian may be able to petition the court for the changes to become permanent.
Never Attempt to Change Your Circumstances Without Legal Help
Many parents believe that if their circumstances have changed, they have the right to modify custody as they see fit. This could not be further from the truth and failure to adhere to a court ordered custody arrangement could land you in a lot of legal trouble. For example, if you are a joint managing conservator and refuse to return your child to the other parent at the court ordered time because you have seen evidence of abuse, you could potentially be charged with kidnapping.
If you believe that a modification to your current custody arrangements would be in the best interests of your child, it is important that you consult an experienced child custody attorney in North Texas as soon as possible, before making any decisions about what to do or what not to do. An attorney can inform you of your rights as a parent and can guide you through the modification process in order to avoid any potential negative consequences.
Contact Preston Park For a Consultation Today
Preston Park is a veteran Texas child custody attorney who understands how challenging family law matters can be. He is committed to providing each of his clients with experienced legal representation during their time of need, and can give you the information and tools you need to make important decisions for your loved ones.
Contact Attorney Park today to discuss your unique circumstances and to learn more about what your next step should be. He is available now to consult with you.
For more details see my post on Texas Child Custody Laws.