No matter how tough a child custody dispute may be, after it is resolved it is common for parents to fall into a rhythm. They adhere to the schedule. They work together. As the years pass, they may agree to changes here and there. Eventually, the schedule may look completely different than the original arrangements.
Then one day a dispute arises. One parent accuses the other of not following the schedule, even though there was a verbal agreement to change it. Suddenly, the other parent is being held in contempt of court, which could lead to fines and even jail time.
Even if a change in child custody arrangements, referred to as conservatorship in Texas, is agreed upon, parents must go through the proper legal channels to make the modification in order to protect themselves and to clearly define their rights and responsibilities.
How To Modify Conservatorship And Visitation Orders
Modifying current child custody arrangements requires court filings, starting with the Petition to Modify Parent-Child Relationship. The other parent must be notified. If the other parent agrees to the changes, he or she can sign a waiver. If the other parent disagrees with the changes, he or she must file an answer.
If the modification is disputed, the parent requesting the change must demonstrate a material and substantial change in circumstances that makes the current arrangement no longer workable. Examples of such changes in circumstances include changes in work schedule, changes in residence or remarriage.
If the change is agreed upon, a new order must be created and finalized in court. If it is disputed, the matter may need to be resolved through negotiation, mediation or trial.
How An Attorney Can Help
An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the modification process efficiently and correctly, so you can be confident that you are protected as you move into your new schedule with your children. If the modification is disputed, an attorney can argue on your behalf to show that the requested changes are in the child’s best interest.
At Heinrich Christian, PLLC, we have decades of experience helping parents with modifications of conservatorship. We can answer any questions you have about the process, or help you move forward with changes.