Modifying Child Custody Agreements
Even if you have made specific plans for yourself and your children, things in life change. A custody agreement you and your co-parent reached when your kids were younger might not continue to meet their needs as they grow up.
Fortunately, it is possible to modify a child custody agreement, but it requires careful consideration and a thorough understanding of the legal guidelines. An experienced Missouri City child custody modification lawyer could help you legally change an existing order or object to a modification request by the other parent if you believe it is not in your children’s best interests. The custody attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates could help you protect the rights and well-being of your child.
Reasons To Modify Child Custody In Missouri City
While the list of situations in which it might be necessary to seek a custody modification is potentially unlimited, there are some common situations that prompt these legal proceedings. Some of these reasons include:
- Gaining employment in another city or out-of-state
- Remarrying someone who lives a substantial distance away
- A child developing special medical or educational needs that one parent can better address
- A parent endangering a child’s physical or emotional health during that parent’s custodial time
- A parent continuously refusing to follow an existing custody order
- A child aging and expressing a desire for a different custody schedule
A dedicated attorney in Missouri City could assess the facts of a child custody case to determine if a modification is warranted.
What Role Does The Best Interests Of The Child Play In Custody Modifications?
Regardless of why a parent wants to change a custody agreement, the proposed modification must be in the child’s best interests. Under Texas Family Code §153.002, the best interests of the child is the court’s primary consideration when determining custody.
This means that when applying the best interests standard, a parent’s wishes are not the controlling factor. Rather, the parent seeking the change must demonstrate that the proposed terms will meet the children’s needs more effectively than the existing arrangement. Our experienced lawyers in Missouri City have a deep understanding of this standard and therefore could explain to a judge how custody modification may help or hurt a child in a particular case.
The Burden Of Proof For Altering Child Custody
To convince a judge to modify a prior conservatorship or possession order, the parent seeking the change must prove that the new arrangement would be in the child’s best interests and demonstrate one of the following three elements under state law.
Relinquishment Of A Child
If a child’s primary custodian has voluntarily given up care of the child to another person for at least six months, the other parent or the person who assumed care can petition to modify custody. However, a parent cannot lose custody solely because they had to relinquish their child for a period of time due to military service.
The Child’s Preference
In cases where a child is 12 years of age or older, a judge must consider their wishes regarding custody. While the court still must decide if the child’s preferred custody arrangement would be in their best interests, the child’s age alone can be a basis for requesting a modification in Missouri City.
A Substantial Change In Circumstances
To sustain a petition for modification, a parent must prove a material and substantial change in circumstances since the date of the most recent custody order or settlement agreement. Essentially, judges want to avoid jeopardizing a child’s stability by granting multiple custody modifications. Therefore, parents must demonstrate a sufficient reason for requesting the change. A Missouri City lawyer could help a parent demonstrate their reasoning for child custody modification.
Learn More From A Missouri City Child Custody Modification Attorney
Changing an existing custody order can impact not only the child but also the parents’ schedules and routines and, as such, can become contentious.
If you need to revisit an existing conservatorship order, or your child’s other parent wants to change it, consult a capable Missouri City child custody modification lawyer. Our dedicated legal team has great experience handling the legal requirements and process for modifying conservatorship and possession. Contact us online or call our Houston office at 281-975-0307 or our Austin office at 512-572-1207.