Reasons to Not File a Child Custody Modification Suit in Texas

How to Modify Child Custody in Texas: Legal Considerations

The decision to seek a child custody modification suit in Texas can be a critical and challenging one. However, there are certain circumstances where filing for such a modification may not be in the best interest of the child or the family.

This article delves into key reasons why parents in Texas might reconsider filing for a child custody modification. We will examine legal stipulations, emotional impacts, financial considerations, and the child’s well-being, alongside the potential long-term effects of altering existing custody arrangements.

The Parenting Puzzle: To Sue or Not to Sue for Custody?

If you have ever been involved in a child custody or divorce case and the outcome wasn’t what you expected or necessarily wanted, you may have already started thinking about changes you would like to make. Maybe you weren’t able to get primary custody of your child, and now your ex-spouse has moved in with a person that you think is a bad influence on your little one.

It could be that you’ve seen a decrease in the amount of income that you earn, and you believe that a reduction of your child support obligation is due. Whatever the reason, you owe it to yourself and your family to consider the positives and negatives of filing for a modification.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, represents clients across southeast Texas, and many of those cases are modification suits. From our experiences, we would like to discuss some of the reasons why it may not be an excellent idea for you to file a lawsuit to modify either a divorce decree or child custody order.

If You File, a Lawsuit May Be Filed Against You by Your Opposing Party

Do you remember the rule we all learned back in high school science: “Every action has an equal or opposite reaction”? While the laws of physics may be different than the laws contained in the Texas Family Code, the fact remains that if you act as the aggressor in filing a lawsuit against your child’s other parent, it is likely that they will come back and assert some grievance against you as well. Essentially they will piggyback off your lawsuit to file one of their own against you.

Clients are typically shocked to learn that the other parent has filed something against them. This is even after another attorney with our office or I discuss what potential “ammunition” the opposing party may have against you.

If you and your child’s other parent clash, filing a modification suit may be the cause. This can worsen tensions, fueling your strained relationship. Anger, hostility, and negative words might arise, possibly even in your children’s presence.

Filing lawsuits often involves pride, leading to poor, satisfaction-driven decisions. This prideful influence likely affects you too. You might ignore minor issues, which mediation could resolve, due to anger with your child’s other parent.

To avoid escalating conflict, try dialoguing to resolve issues amicably, rather than hiring attorneys and filing lawsuits.

If You File, a Lawsuit May Be Filed Against You by Your Opposing Party

What I mean by “twice-broken” is that you’ve already been in front of this judge before and asked them to fix a bad situation for you and your family. The order that came out of that case, either by agreement or the judge’s ruling, does not work for at least one of the prior litigants.

You’ve now returned to the same court and asked the same judge to fix the broken situation again. This often proves difficult because the ability to modify a prior order is almost exclusively fact-dependent.

This means that a judge will have to review all the circumstances in your family since the signing of the original order and determine if sufficient grounds exist to justify another change for your family. It often takes a mountain of evidence and facts to support your side to get the changes you ask for.

Modification Suits Are Often Anger Multipliers

If you and your child’s other parent clash, filing a modification suit may be the cause. This can worsen tensions, fueling your strained relationship. Anger, hostility, and negative words might arise, possibly even in your children’s presence.

Filing lawsuits often involves pride, leading to poor, satisfaction-driven decisions. This prideful influence likely affects you too. You might ignore minor issues, which mediation could resolve, due to anger with your child’s other parent.

To avoid escalating conflict, try dialoguing to resolve issues amicably, rather than hiring attorneys and filing lawsuits.

The Decision to Sue for Custody: Understanding Your Options

Child custody disputes are emotional, with parents often disagreeing on what’s best for their children.

Considering a custody battle, known as “suing for custody,” requires understanding its complexities. This article explores child custody disputes, alternatives to litigation, and the impact on all involved.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Before jumping into a courtroom battle, it’s wise to explore less adversarial options. Mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods can provide a platform for parents to work together to find mutually agreeable solutions.

Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate discussions between parents, aiming to reach a compromise that is in the best interests of the child. This process can be less emotionally taxing than a lawsuit and may result in a more collaborative co-parenting relationship.

How to Modify Child Custody in Texas: Legal Considerations

The decision to sue for custody isn’t just a matter of emotions; it can also be a significant financial burden. Legal fees, court costs, and related expenses can add up quickly. Both parties involved may face financial strain during the litigation process, which can exacerbate an already stressful situation. It’s crucial to consider the potential financial implications before proceeding with legal action.

Impact on Children

Child custody battles can profoundly impact the emotional well-being of the involved children. The stress and conflict associated with litigation can lead to anxiety, confusion, and even long-lasting emotional trauma for the child. Minimizing the negative effects on children should always be a top priority for parents in these situations.

Counseling and Co-Parenting Resources

Recognizing the challenges of co-parenting and communication, many resources are available to assist parents in finding common ground. Counseling services and co-parenting classes can equip parents with valuable tools to navigate their post-divorce or separation relationship effectively. These resources aim to promote healthy co-parenting and minimize conflicts, ultimately benefiting the children.

Change in Circumstances

To file a custody modification suit, you typically must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the issuance of the original custody order. Such changes may include a parent’s relocation, a child’s evolving needs, or a parent’s remarriage. Understanding what qualifies as a substantial change is crucial before pursuing legal action.

Navigating the legal system requires a clear understanding of the specific requirements and timing for filing a custody modification suit in Texas. This includes any waiting periods, prerequisites, and deadlines that must be met. Complying with these legal requirements is essential to pursuing a modification successfully.

Procedural Steps

The process of filing a custody modification suit involves several procedural steps. These steps typically include filing the petition, serving the other party with legal documents, attending court hearings, and presenting evidence to support your case. Each of these steps plays a vital role in the outcome of the case.

The Role of Attorneys

Legal representation is a critical aspect of the custody modification process. Family law attorneys play a pivotal role in guiding clients through the legal complexities, explaining their rights and responsibilities, and advocating for their interests in court. Choosing the right attorney can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

Temporary Orders

During the modification process, it’s possible to seek temporary orders to address immediate concerns. These orders can cover issues such as visitation schedules, child support adjustments, and other matters that require prompt attention. Temporary orders establish a temporary framework until reaching a final decision.

Enforcement of Custody Orders

While a custody modification suit is pending, both parents generally must adhere to the existing custody orders. Failure to comply with these orders can have serious consequences. Understanding the importance of abiding by court orders during the legal process is crucial to avoid potential legal repercussions.

Factors Considered in Modification

Understanding these factors is essential for building a compelling case.

Factors Considered in ModificationDescription
Child’s Best InterestsThe primary focus of the court is the child’s well-being and ensuring their best interests are met. Factors related to this include the child’s age, health, and emotional stability.
Parental Fitness and StabilityThe court evaluates each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child. This includes considerations like a safe and suitable living space, consistent routines, and the capability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs.
Child’s PreferenceDepending on the child’s age and maturity, their preferences may be taken into account, though they are not the sole determining factor. The court may consider the child’s wishes, especially if they have a well-reasoned preference.
Co-Parenting AbilitiesThe court assesses each parent’s willingness and ability to cooperate and communicate effectively with the other parent. Being supportive of the child’s relationship with the other parent is highly regarded.
Stability of Home EnvironmentThe stability of each parent’s home life is scrutinized, including factors such as a consistent daily routine, a supportive network, and the absence of any disruptive or harmful elements in the child’s living situation.
Evidence of Abuse or NeglectAny history or evidence of child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence is critically examined. The court takes these matters extremely seriously and will prioritize the child’s safety above all else.
Parental Involvement and SupportThe court may consider each parent’s level of involvement in the child’s life and their willingness to provide emotional and financial support. This includes factors like attending school events, participating in extracurricular activities, and fulfilling child support obligations.

Impact on Parent-Child Relationships

How to Modify Child Custody in Texas: Legal Considerations

Perhaps one of the most significant considerations when contemplating a custody battle is how it can affect the parent-child relationship. Ongoing legal conflicts and hostilities can strain these relationships, potentially causing long-term damage. Exploring strategies for maintaining a positive parent-child relationship despite the challenges is paramount.

Some cases may necessitate litigation, but parents should actively explore alternative dispute resolution methods, thoroughly understand legal requirements, and consistently prioritize their children’s well-being in their decision-making process. Parents must acknowledge that child custody battles extend beyond legal disputes; they deeply affect everyone involved, especially the children. Thus, it’s crucial for parents to approach these battles with sensitivity and an unwavering focus on seeking the best possible solution for all parties involved.


So, should you sue for custody? It’s a puzzle only you can solve, but remember, the answer might just be a piece of the parenting adventure.

In this whirlwind journey, we’ve explored mediation, financial considerations, the impact on your little ones, and the importance of open communication. We’ve deciphered the change in circumstances and unraveled the legal web’s intricacies. We’ve even peeked into the superhero role of family law attorneys.

Now, as you embark on your parenting quest, armed with newfound knowledge and insight, remember that the puzzle may not have a single, straightforward solution. It’s a dynamic process that requires flexibility and adaptability.


undefined If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book.”

Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Modifying your divorce decree in Texas
  2. Courts require valid reasons for modifying visitation rights
  3. Navigating the Texas-sized Challenges: A Comprehensive Guide to Relocation and Child Custody Modifications
  4. Navigating Post-Divorce Changes: A Guide to Child Custody Modifications
  5. Clarification of standard custody for temporary orders in a modification suit
  6. How Child Custody Modification Works
  7. The Basics of Divorce Decree Modification
  8. How to Build Your Case for a Parenting Time Modification
  9. How can health issues lead to custody modification?
  10. What are some examples where you can request a child custody modification?
  11. The beginnings stages of a Texas child support modification case
  12. Family Law Cases in Texas: Modifications and Enforcements
  13. Modification of Spousal Maintenance in Texas

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to fight for custody in Texas?

Costs for a custody case in Texas vary. It may include attorney fees, court filing fees, and other expenses. It’s best to consult with a family law attorney for a more accurate estimate.

How do I win a custody case in Texas?

Winning a custody case in Texas depends on various factors, including the child’s best interests, parental fitness, stability, and more. Consult with an attorney for guidance tailored to your situation.

What does a judge look for in a custody case in Texas?

A judge considers the child’s best interests, parental fitness, stability, and the ability to provide a nurturing environment. The specifics may vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case.

What can cause a mother to lose custody of her child in Texas?

In Texas, parental gender alone should not determine custody. Custody decisions are based on the child’s best interests and factors like parental fitness, stability, and more.

How long does a child custody case take in Texas?

The duration varies widely depending on factors like court availability, complexity, and cooperation between parties. Some cases resolve in a few months, while others may take a year or more.

How long does it take for a judge to make a custody decision in Texas?

It varies but typically, after all evidence is presented, a judge may take several weeks to make a custody decision. It depends on court workload and case complexity.

Who gets primary custody in Texas?

In Texas, courts aim to ensure both parents play a significant role in a child’s life. The concept of “joint managing conservatorship” is often preferred, allowing both parents to make important decisions.

What are grounds for full custody in Texas?

Full custody, known as “sole managing conservatorship,” may be granted if it’s in the child’s best interests and one parent is deemed unfit, poses a danger, or cannot provide a stable environment. Courts decide based on evidence presented.

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