Texas parents modify custody with confidence

Confidence is something that we have all searched for at some point in our lives. Just when we need it the most it can seem to escape us. That is what can happen in a child custody case, to be sure. Just when you think that you have made the right decision for yourself and your family you lose the confidence you once had. What seemed like the best option can now seem to be a bad choice for you and your children. It can cause you to stop in your tracks and wonder if you are doing the right thing after all. 

Were you hesitant to file your child custody case? I’m sure you may have been. It is not an easy decision to start this type of case with little knowledge of the process and concerns about the well-being of your children. Jumping into a family law case with no experience is not easy. However, you likely took a leap of faith by continuing with the process because you had gotten to a point where you didn’t think you could continue in your prior circumstances. Now that you have started the process you need to know how to gain the confidence necessary to complete your case. 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand the position that you are in. Wanting to do what is right for your family while also not being entirely sure of the best direction to take your case. Our attorneys and staff are here for you when you are ready to talk to us about how best to proceed in your child custody case. We offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. There is nothing that we haven’t seen in a child custody case. That is the benefit that we can offer you as a prospective client. We have had the good fortune to serve many of our neighbors throughout the State of Texas

What does it mean to modify child custody orders?

Going back to court when you have already had one child custody case under your belt can seem like not a lot of fun. From the outside looking at the circumstances that you are facing could lead you to believe that a modification is not necessary. However, you are the parent who has to look out for the best interests of your children while also minding the overall atmosphere in which your family lives. As a result, you have your finger on the pulse of your family better than anyone. 

The best interests of your child are what your child custody case will be based around. Instead of focusing on what the parents want it will be the best interests of your child that matter the most. What can catch some parents off guard is that the best interests of your child do not always perfectly align with your own best interests. Sometimes the things that you want to make more sense based on your circumstances than that of your child. 

Different factors will come into play for a child when considering their best interests. Not only will their well-being now matter but their future well-being, the home environments of you and your co-parent as well as the roles that each of you have played in the life of your child to this point in their life. These factors plus the experiences of the judge and possibly the preferences of your child are all going to be considered by the family court judge. 

What needs to occur when you file a child custody modification?

If you are considering a change to your current child custody orders, then there must be something in your life that is not working well for someone. It could be that the visitation orders you have are no longer enough time for you and your child. Or you may been promoted at work a few times since your prior case and you are now earning more money. As a result, your co-parent may be interested in increasing the amount of child support that you have to pay. 

Whatever the circumstances that you want to change you need to feel confident that what you are trying to change is worth the effort, time, and money that you are about to put into the case. At the end of the case, do you envision the change you are asking for being substantial enough to truly benefit your child? Or is the change you want to see more an adjustment along the edges of your child support orders? You and your co-parent may be able to negotiate for a small modification together. However, if you need to go to a family court judge then he or she is unlikely to grant your request. 

The modification cannot be based on the desire to change an order just because you do not like the orders any longer. For example, let’s say that you had agreed to a standard possession order back during your divorce case six years ago. Now that you have lived under the arrangement you would like to gain more time with your child. This is a reasonable desire. However, that desire must coincide with a change in circumstances since the last time your family was in court together. 

Specifically, that change must be based on a material and substantial change in circumstances for you, your co-parent, or your child. Material and substantial equals big. The change must make the prior orders no longer workable to the extent that your child’s best interests lay in updating them. When you get to this point it is time to consider filing a modification. 

However, even if you are to the point where you think a modification case is justified you would still need to think through your options. Remember- we are talking about moving confidently into your child custody modification case. It would be difficult to move confidently into this type of case unless you were sure that you attempted to resolve matters using any method that is less strenuous than a modification case. 

Would an informal modification work for you and your family?

What kind of relationship do you have with your co-parent? Are you able to talk to him or her about the issues facing your child? Or do the two of you struggle to find common ground of any kind concerning your child? The way that you answer these questions will go a long way toward determining whether you would be able to manage an informal child custody modification. 

An informal child custody modification is when you and your co-parent work together to sort through the circumstances that you would like to change. We can sometimes get lost in the details of a child custody case and lose sight of the basic changes that we are trying to make for our child. Step back from the case and assess what you are trying to accomplish in the modification case. Do you just want to get an extra weekend with your child every other month? Maybe have your child dropped off on Sundays at 5:30 instead of 6:00 so you can have some quality time before bed?

These are all changes that you may be able to work out with your co-parent on an informal basis. An informal modification is one that you can work out with him or her directly without having to go through court to do so. This allows the modification to go into effect much quicker. It also saves you time and money from having to go through these changes through the court. Again, if you and your co-parent have a good relationship with one another then this may be one of the best ways for you to accomplish your goals.

On the other hand, there are some issues with informal child custody modifications that you need to be aware of. First, the modification is just that- informal. This means that you will not get anything in writing that can be enforced by a judge. Your co-parent could agree to the modification that you are requesting and then, at the drop of a hat, change their mind and go back on their word. 

There are some modifications that you absolutely would not want to try and do informally. The lifting of a geographic restriction comes to mind. Moving away from your geographically restricted area because your co-parent said that he would not mind the geographic restriction could be disastrous. Imagine moving, switching jobs and doing everything associated with a move only to find out that your co-parent ultimately will not honor your handshake agreement. That would be a terrible situation to find yourself in. 

If all you are trying to do is to test out a modification, then an informal modification may work well. However, if you need to go about a substantial modification in the life of your child then going through the court may be your best bet. To learn more about this process or to determine whether you have a viable modification case contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. 

Is the modification the best or only option?

Going to court at the drop of a hat is not a good idea. You may be tempted to file a modification case at every opportunity if something does not work well for your family. A good rule of thumb to consider is whether the modification that you have in mind is either the only way to accomplish your goal or the best way to accomplish your goal. My point is that it is wise to consider your options before filing a modification case. 

For instance, consider a situation where you want to be able to figure out a better way for you to be able to pick up your daughter for your weekends of visitation. 6:00 pm is difficult for you given that you work across town from her mother’s house. Each Friday you tend to arrive 15 or even 30 minutes late. It is not your intent to be late like this, but you absolutely cannot make it across town any faster. Your co-parent is getting upset at this. You don’t like it much either given that you are losing time with your child. 

Your mind begins to wonder- what other options are there for you to be able to take advantage of as far as being able to have more time with her. Quit your job and work closer to her? That is an option given that you work in the technology field and have skills that readily transfer and are in high demand. However, you have worked for the same company for over a decade, have employee stock that has not vested yet and are otherwise very happy with your current employer. 

Leaving the company would make sense if only for your daughter but otherwise would not make sense. What other options can you consider? The modification case comes to mind. Maybe ask your co-parent to modify the pick-up times to 6:30? That would seemingly accomplish your goals and prevent her from being able to file an enforcement case against you given how frequently you have violated the court order on pick-up times. 

However, even though you have thought through the modification case it may still not be the best route for you to take. The most direct way for you to avoid violating your court order and keeping the time you need with your child would be to talk to your employer about the situation. Why not ask if you can get to work thirty minutes early so that you can leave at 4:30 each Friday instead of five? This would allow you to get across town to your daughter by 6:00 instead of 6:15 or 6:30. 

This is just one example of how you can fix the problem in the life of your family without necessarily having to file a modification case. I created a relatively straightforward situation for us to discuss and illustrate these points. However, if you find yourself in a more complicated situation than that you should reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to go through your options and assess how to problem-solve in more complex scenarios. We have the answers you need and the guidance you can rely on in the context of Texas family law.

Developing confidence comes with having a plan

Do you ever notice people- at work, in your personal life, or even at the grocery store- who just look like they know what they’re doing? Not cocky or abrasive- just confident in how they conduct themselves. These folks don’t waste time, don’t waste movement, and seem to have an air of getting things done. A project manager who never misses a deadline. A family member who has five kids, a career, and still manages to write handwritten thank you cards and Christmas cards each December. How do they do it?

I think folks like this can accomplish the things that they do because they have a plan and are intentional about how to accomplish those goals. Having a plan. Let’s start there. You don’t enter a family law naturally having a plan. Rather, you only get a plan for your case after thinking about the case and your options. A blog post like this is a great place to develop a strategy and a plan but by no means is where you should stop your planning. Rather, once you learn about the general process of a modification you should go a step further and apply this general information to the specific issues associated with your case. 

Next, you can learn how to be intentional about how you set out to accomplish your goals and execute your plan. Being intentional means acting like the person you admire from work or in your family. No wasted movements, no distractions. Just focus on your goal, and your plan and then work towards accomplishing the goal. Don’t get distracted by other information or shiny objects. Develop a focus that cannot waver, and you are more likely to act in a goal-oriented fashion. 

Interested in learning how to approach your child custody modification case like this? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We can provide you with trustworthy information about your case. Next, you can consider what our experienced family law attorneys can do for you in a case. Having support gives a lot of people confidence in a family law setting. We are here for you. When you need someone to have your back, to trust with your case, and to develop a strategy with, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is what you need. Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us here on our blog. 

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 experienced 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’s circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. 

Share this article



Related Articles

Legal Remedies: How Texas Addresses Cyber Bullying and Ensures Online Safety

The Evolution of Legislation: Tracing the Development of Texas Cyber Bullying Laws

Navigating the Divorce Spectrum: Understanding Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

Can I Get Custody Even If the Divorce Was My Fault?

Dirty Divorce Tricks Series: Using Children as Weapons

The Road to Clarity Parental Rights and Child Custody in Texas

Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields