The terms set in a Texas custody order will have a major impact on the affected family. Obviously, the division of parenting time has a profound influence on the relationships that the adults maintain with their children.
Usually, it is necessary for those who divorce in Texas to fully comply with a custody order to the best of their abilities. However, there are sometimes situations that necessitate a change to custody arrangements that have already been formalized by the courts. There are two ways for parents to effectively modify a custody order and one approach that doesn’t work.
What isn’t effective?
Sometimes, the issues with a custody order are so significant that both parents agree about the necessity of a change. They could talk the issue over and agree to modify the schedule or give one parent more time with the children than they currently enjoy. This informal approach may seem simple but could actually cause major complications in the future. Without a formal modification, those changes are not official. In other words, either parent could change their mind or even seek enforcement support based on the terms in the official plan and not the new agreement.
What are the two viable options?
The easiest and fastest way to update a Texas custody order is through mutual agreement. If the adults arrive at their own arrangements for changing their parenting plan, they can cooperate to file an uncontested modification. This process is relatively quick and straightforward. Judges simply need to review the custody order and then update it to reflect the current family circumstances.
Another approach may be necessary when the parents and the family do not agree about the need for a change. Perhaps one parent wants to intervene because the other has neglected the children, or maybe they want a modification because the other parent frequently cancels their parenting time. In a scenario involving a disagreement about the necessity of a modification or the exact terms for the new custody order, either parent could file a request for a modification hearing. A judge would then review the family’s circumstances and the existing custody order. They would make a decision about what changes are appropriate based on the best interest of the children.
Oftentimes, the safety of the children is a top priority, but judges also want to help both parents maintain healthy relationships with their children. They might therefore increase the parenting time of an adult who has remedied issues that affected the prior custody ruling. Someone obtaining better housing, attending counseling for anger issues or improving their dynamic with the children, for example, could opt to ask for more parenting time.
Texas parents sometimes need to go back to court because doing so would be what is best for their children. Understanding the two options for a formal modification of a Texas custody order can help people decide the best approach to their situation.