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When should a parent consider modifying a Texas custody order?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Family Law

A Texas custody order is an enforceable court matter. Both parents in a Texas shared custody arrangement need to adhere to the schedule for the division of parenting time outlined in the custody order and communicate with one another.

Either parent could potentially go back to family court in pursuit of enforcement support when the other blatantly violates the custody arrangements for the family. Occasionally, one parent might determine that they want to modify or adjust the custody order instead.

When is a custody modification a reasonable option for a parent to pursue?

When their circumstances have significantly changed

Sometimes, people become aware of the need for a modification because they have to repeatedly communicate with a co-parent about changing the schedule or making other adjustments. When household schedules have changed or when family relationships shift, the division of parenting time may change as well.

Parents can request a custody modification when there has been a significant change in their employment, the children’s schedules or family relationships. Sometimes, parents can agree that a change is necessary because they must repeatedly renegotiate terms to accommodate the current family circumstances. Other times, parents may disagree about modifications and may need to go back to court. Judges can reevaluate the division of parenting time and parental responsibilities based on what they believe is in the best interest of the children.

When the children are in an unsafe situation

Perhaps a child came home covered in bruises or spent a week without brushing their teeth. It can take a while for those who have not served as a primary caregiver to learn what is necessary to support their children effectively. That being said, children should not spend significant amounts of time in environments where they endure abuse or must deal with parental negligence. Provided that there is documentation of issues involving the mistreatment of the children or a failure to meet their needs, a parent can request a modification because of the danger to the children. The courts may alter the division of parenting time to protect the children.

Theoretically, parents can agree with each other to modify custody orders at any point while the children are still minors. If an agreement is not possible, then parents can typically only request modifications when they have evidence of unsafe circumstances or significant changes to the family situation.

Keeping a custody order updated based on current family circumstances is important for a sustainable co-parenting relationship. Adults may need to return to court to ensure that their custody arrangements reflect current needs, accordingly.