Attempting to modify a child custody order is one of the most common reasons why you may find yourself back in a courtroom years after a divorce or child custody case came to an end. If you believe that some aspect of your child custody order needs to be changed or amended, then the way to do this is to file a modification case. However, you may find that your weren't chances of success can vary a great deal depending upon not only the circumstances of your case but also the evidence available to you.
Attempting to modify hey court order is not a simple proposition. Whereas filing a child custody or divorce case takes little to no effort it can be done without much in the way of planning a modification case requires a great deal of forethought. A saying that I am fond of using in conjunction with a family law case is that you can wander your way into a modification case, but it is impossible to wander out of one if you want to accomplish any meaningful goals. The same can be said of child custody and divorce cases but I think is especially true of modification cases. You need to have a plan and stick to it to accomplish positive results in the world of modification.
Before we talk about attempting to modify a childcare city order to be named as a parent with full custody of your child, we need to discuss why you may be interested in modifying a child custody order. Additionally, we will discuss what it takes to successfully modify and order as well as the type of evidence that you may need to show to flip custody orders as well as conservatorship arrangements for your child.
One of the important aspects of this discussion is that what we will talk about here is extremely general in terms of circumstances that may be relevant for you and your family. I do not know anything about the specific circumstances of your life. If you have questions about what it is your family is facing as well as how you can best proceed in a child custody modification case, I recommend that you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce, child custody, or modification case.
What is a child custody modification case?
At this point, a reasonable question to ask would be what exactly a child custody modification case even. You probably have a pretty good understanding of what modifying something means. To me, when I hear the word modify, I think about changes. So, it would make sense that a child custody modification would mean changing some aspects of your child custody orders. However, we need to talk about what a modification is and is not as far as altering or changing a prior court order.
Child custody modification is when you are attempting to change some aspect of her prior court order regarding custody of your child. This could be a modification regarding physical possession of your child, conservatorship rights and duties, visitation, child support, or anything else having to do with your relationship with your child. To be sure, a child custody modification can mean any of a few different things regarding you and your child after a child custody or divorce case.
Modifying a child custody order means showing a court that a material and substantial change has occurred in your life, that of your Co-parent, or in one of your children since the last time you were in court. This material and substantial change would need to be significant to sway a family court judge. The family court judge assigned to your case would be able to rely upon their experience in determining whether the change you are seeking truly is based on material and substantial change as experienced by you, your Co-parent, or your child.
This is what you will be responsible for showing if you only court judge when and if you attempt to modify hey court order. While you can certainly attempt to file a modification case without first having this type of evidence, the fact remains that your chances of being successful in this type of lawsuit are very low. You will need to file an affidavit with your petition to modify in which you discuss the circumstances that you are alleging to be material and substantial. If a judge does not agree that these are material and substantial changes that have occurred your petition to modify will not be moved on to the docket of that court.
Family court judges are hesitant in most cases to modify a pre-existing court order. For one, many times it was that judge who issued the prior order which is now attempting to be modified. From a human nature perspective, the judge may not want to change something that they created in the first place. On a practical level, judges also do not want to upset the balance of a family which has experienced some degree of success with a court order in place. In many situations, a judge will be looking for evidence that a current order simply was not able to be followed well by family. Something had to become so unworkable that a modification was the only option your family could seek.
This is the backdrop of many modification attempts. You must have all your ducks in a row when it comes to this type of family law case. It is not enough to file the modification case and hope that sufficient evidence is turned up during your investigation or something to that effect. Rather, you need to have evidence ready in at least be prepared to discuss it in your affidavit. Your failure to do so can result in your case never even making it past the judge's review after initially filing the case.
This is another strong reason why you should consider filing a modification case only after having consulted with and hired an experienced family law attorney. Having an experienced family law attorney by her side, such as one with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, can help you to better ensure that you are prepared for whatever comes your way in a modification case. The bar is certainly higher in this type of case than it would be in a general child custody case. You must have your ducks in a row and have a plan to move forward successfully. Having an experienced family law attorney to assist you in this regard can be essential to finding success in the world of a modification case.
Why would you want to modify a prior court order?
In this section of today's blog post, I would like to discuss what circumstances you, your Co-parent, or your child may find yourselves in which may lead to a situation where a modification of your prior court order is warranted. To be sure, all our lives are changing on a nearly constant basis. I cannot think of many people whose life circumstances are the same now as they were even three or four years ago. If your family is like most then your life circumstances have changed in some regard over the past few years, the question that you have to ask yourself is whether or not those changes are substantial enough to justify the filing of a modification case when it comes to child custody orders.
When it comes to attempting to modify a court order for custody purposes you may have a child who has gotten older and is now of an age where he or she is better able to express themselves and their preference for who should have primary custody of him or her. Whereas your child may have been in elementary school at the time of your divorce he or she could now be in middle school and is expressing a desire to live with you on a full-time basis rather than at your ex-wife’s house. And keep ending up in other circumstances in your life this may be reason enough to file a modification case for custody.
In Texas, once your child reaches 12 years of age if you file a motion with the court to have your child be able to speak to the judge but their preference on where he or she should live then the court must allow this to happen. On the other hand, if your child is under 12 years of age then you may still file the same type of motion, but it is up to the judge’s discretion whether to allow the conversation to occur. Either way, you, your ex-spouse nor your attorneys would be able to be present in the room with your child and the judge when these conversations are occurring.
While filing a child custody modification case is not anything out of the ordinary, doing so and then having your child be inserted into the process as a key decision maker and influence here at the judge can be difficult. For one, you are essentially asking your child to choose between you and your Co-parent in terms of who should have primary custody of him or her period on top of that, you are asking the child to go before our family court judge to voice their opinion to a stranger in a strange environment. You know your child better than anyone but, in many cases, this could be an awkward result for your child and your family.
On top of that, the judge only must take into consideration what the child says. It is not as if what the child says to the judge will end the case and the judge will automatically rule in the way that the child indicates in their meeting at the judge’s office. Rather, the judge will consider the opinion of your child and we'll consider along with it any other available information and evidence that you and your Co-parent submit to the court.
This does not even mention that in many cases and the judge will not be the final decider of any custody or conservatorships issues that are submitted to the court in your modification. You and your Co-parent will have ample time to try to settle your case in mediation or informal settlement agreement. This could mean that the two of you work to schedule a mediation setting early in your case to allow an experienced family law mediator to be able to speak into your situation to help you all agree with the two of you rather than to allow a family court judge to have the final say over an important matter regarding your child in your relationship with him or her.
Next, you need to consider a situation where Your child's safety, health, or general well-being is in harm’s way while living primarily at their other parent's home. Unfortunately, some situations develop with time where a parent develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol or enters a relationship with a person that has this type of profile. Your child may have even come home to you at certain points with concerns over their safety because of an issue like this. Certainly, this would seem to be a material and substantial change in circumstances involving at least one parent and your child.
In a scenario like this, you should seek to be able to produce evidence for the court showing the extent of the risk of harm to your child because of the use of alcohol or drugs in the household. For example, injuries sustained by your child may need to be front and center for the judge’s consideration. If your child wandered away from their mother or stepfather and injured themselves as a result of your exposure or their new partner being intoxicated then photographs of injuries or even a medical report from a hospital or urgent care facility could be the kind of evidence you need to be able to sway a family court judge that had changed needs to occur in custody.
A police report from any incidents at the home of your Co-parent should be obtained at the time of the incident and you should speak with an experienced family law attorney on how to best ensure this evidence can be submitted to a court. It is not enough to simply assume that you can throw documents at a family court judge and then he or she will look through it all with a fine-tooth comb and ultimately rule in the way that you want. Rather, evidence needs to be offered into the record and then you need to be prepared to meet the objections of your Co-parent in trying to keep that evidence out of consideration. Having an experienced family law attorney can help you to meet this moment and ensure that the important evidence that you have worked hard to obtain can make it into the record of your case for the judge to be able to consider in conjunction with your modification petition.
Closing thoughts on best city modification cases in Texas
It can be extremely worthwhile for you to file a modification case on your child's behalf regarding custody matters. Without a doubt, the life of your child can be significantly influenced by whom he or she spends most of their time. Depending upon your child's age the question of with which parent your child spends more time can be a direct indicator of their development and Wellness. You need to be keeping an I on your child and can make it determination about whether a modification is warranted.
Before you jump headfirst into a modification case, however, you should take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your proposed case and the circumstances you and your child are facing. Having a plan in place is critical when you are requesting a modification for child custody. The better prepared you can be the more knowledge you can possess about the modification process the more likely you are to achieve the goals that you have for yourself and your family.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.