As much as you may want them to, your children will not stay little forever. They’re going to grow both physically, mentally, and emotionally. What may have worked for child custody when your child was two may not work when they turn 12. That’s why child custody modifications are allowed in child custody agreements. With the help of a trusted child custody attorney, you can request a modification that better suits your child’s needs.
Grounds for a Custody Modification
A child custody modification can’t just be granted out of the blue. Texas has specific grounds for why a child custody modification should be granted:
- There has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the child or parents involved in the custody plan.
- The child is of mature age, usually the age of 12, and has displayed a preference for which parent they wish to live with
- The parent with primary custody has voluntarily given away custody of the child for at least six months
The custody modification must also be made to reflect the child’s best interests.
Common Custody Modifications
Child custody modifications typically follow the rule that there is a substantial change in the lives of the child or the parents. This can prompt many different requests for custody modification, so we are sharing some of the most common modifications we see.
Child Wishes to Pursue Educational Opportunities
If one parent lives in zoning that would put the child in a better high school, or in a school in which they could continue to learn with friends, the courts may grant a modification of child custody to allow the child to change their primary residence. In this modification, the court may consider opportunities to grow and flourish at the school, as well as opportunities the child may have while living at that parent’s home.
Change in One Parent’s Employment Schedule
If the parent who has a majority of the time-sharing agreement with the child gets a new job that limits the time in which they can actively parent, then a custody modification may be necessary. This may include an increase in travel schedule, change in working hours, or being unable to care for the child after school hours. The courts would look at the change in work schedule and adjust the custody agreement to reflect the changed schedule.
Child Wishes to Live With One Parent
Your child may now be a teenager and realize that they really enjoy living with one specific parent. In the request for modification, your child may tell the judge their preference for their child custody agreement, which would then be considered by the court. The child’s preference will not be the sole factor in making this adjustment, but if the child is over the age of 12, then the court will consider the preference when modifying the custody agreement.
One Parent Develops Substance Abuse Issues
As heartbreaking as it may be if one parent develops substance abuse issues, the courts may adjust the child custody agreement to limit the time the child spends with that parent. This adjustment is made in the best interests of the child and to protect the child from any danger that may persist with their parent with substance abuse issues.
Change in the Medical Status of Either the Child or Parents
The child’s medical status is a factor that the courts will consider when modifying custody. If one parent is better equipped to handle a persistent or chronic medical issue that the child may have, then that parent is more likely to get a majority of custody. Likewise, if one parent develops a medical condition and becomes no longer able to care for themselves and their child, then custody may be modified to ensure that the child still can see their parent, but will not live in their care for the majority of the time.
Woodlands Child Custody Lawyers
Our child custody modification lawyers are skilled at working with families to find successful solutions. We understand that family law matters can be difficult and we want to be here to ensure that your family reaches the best possible outcome.