What You Need to Know About Child Custody Modification

When couples undergo divorce, one of the primary responsibilities of the court is to help set up a custody arrangement that protects the interests of their children. In these instances, circumstances of the former spouses and their children change – thus, a child custody modification may need to be in order.

A divorce decree is irrevocable in Texas. However, under the Texas Family Code, you can file to amend the divorce’s custody or parenting plan component.

If you think that the child support or custody aspect in your divorce is not meeting the needs of your child anymore, it may be time for a child custody modification appeal. Please reach out to us for a consultation. In the meantime, here are some of the fundamental items you must know about modifying child custody arrangements in Texas.

In case of emergency, call the local authorities and your child custody modification attorney immediately.

Anything involving divorce and custody arrangements can get complex. In some cases, emotions run high, which could negatively impact your child’s well-being.  This goes without saying, but if your child’s life is in imminent danger, you must call the local authorities and then your attorney as soon as possible.

Typically, the wait time for a child custody modification is one year.

Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, the typical wait time for a child custody modification appeal is one year from when the mediated settlement was agreed upon. This item is essential to remember.

Before you can seek to modify the custody arrangement, you must be able to prove a significant and material change in your child’s circumstances. If the court finds a basis in your appeal, only then will they review your claim.

Most modification appeals are not heard because the “substantial change” didn’t happen after the mediated settlement was approved.

When your divorce decree is finalized, you can’t say anything that has occurred before the agreement is grounds to modify the arrangement.

For instance, when you’ve already been granted the divorce, and you didn’t disclose that your former spouse abused your kids and now you’re seeking to modify the prior arrangement, you can’t use that claim as evidence.

A piece of evidence is only relevant if the incident occurred from the date that the settlement agreement was official until the present day.

It’s advisable to seek legal guidance regarding this matter. This step ensures you are following the child custody modification process requirements and are not missing any critical details.

In some cases, a child custody modification appeal can be submitted earlier.

This is true if you can prove that your child’s current environment or circumstances pose a danger to their physical, mental, or emotional development.

For example, if your former spouse becomes addicted to whatever vice – whether it’s drugs, gambling, or alcohol – it’s highly likely that your child’s wellbeing and development are endangered.

Physical harm to your child, substance abuse of someone your child is currently living with, or other similar scenarios that negatively impact your child meets the criteria of filing for custody modification outside the year timeframe.

Custody arrangements must meet a growing child’s needs.

The needs of a child change as they grow. Thus, a custody modification may be inevitable. Typically, as the child gets older, there tend to be more disagreements about custody arrangements between the parents.

This scenario is particularly true if the child involved has specific medical needs. Whether it’s psychiatric care, physical therapy requirements, or whatever healthcare requirements a growing child needs, you may need to seek a custody modification.

Beware of the risks that come with a child custody modification appeal.

Requesting for a modification will not always go in your favor. You could either walk away with an agreement you didn’t set out for at all or end up spending a lot of money on legal fees.

Before filing a modification appeal, make sure to weigh the pros and cons. What you must keep in mind is to protect your child’s best interests.

To properly navigate the child custody modification process, know the pitfalls you must avoid, and be prepared of what’s to come, you need the assistance of a reliable family law attorney with sufficient experience in handling these types of cases.