A modification case in Texas family law means that one party to a family court order has decided to change some aspect of that order. This is not uncommon in an unreasonable request because people's lives can change significantly throughout time if you have a child custody order that is more than two or three years old. It is likely that some aspect and that order no longer works well for you and your family. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to request a modification from a family court judge as a result.
What many families choose to do, rather than go back to family court, is to attempt to work out some agreements with the other person involved in the order so that they can avoid having to go back to family court to get a formal modification. In many cases, this works out well, especially if you have a good relationship with your Co-parent. Ultimately, you and the Co-parent have to trust one another to follow whatever agreement you all have come up with period; this is true whether or not the actual deal is written down in the form of a child custody order.
Two to the changing circumstances some of you may have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think this is a relevant topic for us to discuss in today's blog post. Specifically, I would like to explore some of the more in-depth issues surrounding child custody modifications and how they may impact your children and your family. Keep in mind that not every family needs to get a child custody modification if you can work directly with the other parent to create a modified agreement between the two of you. What a child custody modification does is provide you all with Annette beneath the tightrope, so to speak, that will allow you to have some degree of trust that if either party violates the order, the other party will have the ability to go back to court and hold that person accountable.
In some circumstances, if you need a modification that touches on several different subjects, then you may very well need to head to family court. Family law attorneys like myself walk with people through challenging to manage modification cases with regularity, and I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you more about what a child custody modification is, what it can mean for your family and what circumstances may justify your filing a modification case. I will note that child custody modification cases are generally more intricate and challenging to manage in all family law. The reason being is that there is a high bar set for modifying child custody orders, and you need to have all of your ducks in a row to get this process accomplished.
With that said, some of you may be facing circumstances that justify requesting a formal modification of your child custody orders by a judge. At that describes where you are in your relationship with your child and with your co-parent, then I think you should hang tight and read through this blog post with us. I hope you will be able to take some of the lessons you learn and apply them to your own life to determine what route you need to go regarding requesting a formal modification of your child custody orders.
When can a child custody order be modified?
This is the first question that you need to ask yourself regarding a child custody modification request. If you find yourself at odds with some aspect of every child custody order, then he should probably get in line behind everyone else in your position who feels the same way. Without making light of your circumstances, the reality is that most people have something in their child custody orders that sticks in their craw. It could be something significant, or something that is relatively minor but still annoys you or put you out in terms of your schedule, your relationship with your kids, or anything in between. Let's discuss what name child custody modification is and how one can request it.
To request a modification of your child custody orders, there need to be formal child custody orders in place. This may seem obvious, but for some of you who have some written down orders created by you and your child's other parent, you may think that a family court judge can modify these agreements. However, keep in mind that while you and your co-parent may have been diligently following these agreements, it is not the case that these agreements constitute an actual order that a judge can enforce or modify. If you want to take these agreements and have them set in stone by court order, you must file a lawsuit.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in a position where you have court orders in place that cover child custody and some aspect of those custody orders no longer work well for you or your family, you may need to file a modification request. To do so, you would file a new lawsuit against your co-parent seeking to modify some provision contained in those original child custody orders. Keep in mind that child custody deals with issues ranging from child support, possession, Visitation to many things in between. A modification case is you claiming that a substantial and material change has occurred in the life of you, your co-parent, or one of your children that justifies a modification. A court would need to find that such a change has curd and find that the proposed amendment is also in your child's best interests. If both of these things are found to be accurate by a family court, then your modification requests can be granted.
The difficulty in getting a judge to approve your modification request is that it is not as simple as filing and getting the judge to say yes or no. First of all, a judge would need to make it in termination that the requisite change has a curd even to justify hearing the case. It is not like in a divorce case where two married people only need to prove that a court has jurisdiction to get the court to grant the divorce. The bar is higher in modification cases. As a result, I always recommend that they have an attorney representing them in their attempts to modify a court order.
The next thing that I would point out is that a court will use the best interest determination when deciding whether or not to grant the request. This means that a judge will not only need to determine whether or not a change is a Kurd sufficient to trigger modification, but the court will then use its judgment to determine whether or not making this change is in the child's best interest. The best interest of the child determination is one that family courts frequently make but mainly based on the experience, my judgment, and predispositions of your particular family court judge. This can make it extremely difficult for attorneys and clients like yourself to determine the odds of having their modification be granted.
Finally, you have to understand that most modification cases never make it to a judge in the 1st place. Once it is determined that there is a substantial and material change, sufficient to trigger a modification, the parties will likely attend mediation to see if some middle ground can be reached on the requested change period what this means is that while a judge may not make determinations about your modification, it is more likely that you and your co-parent will attend mediation to see if you can negotiate a solution to this problem yourselves.
If one is reached at all, the solution that you come up with the mediation would be put into writing within a modified child custody order and signed by all parties and the judge. This is the lifespan of a typical child custody modification case. Suppose you attempt to settle your case in mediation or are unsuccessful. In that case, your lawsuit will go before a family court judge who would determine what modifications, if any, were justified based on the facts and circumstances of your case and the best interests of your child.
What are some reasons to modify your child custody order?
Now that we have discussed some of the basics of child custody modification cases and what all goes into modifying a child custody order, we can discuss some of the more common reasons you may want to change your child custody case. I highly recommend that you speak to an experienced family law attorney who has handled many modification cases before you determine whether or not to file one for yourself. Keep in mind that your circumstances are significant. You cannot necessarily rely upon the perspective of a person who has gone through one or even two of these kinds of cases.
An inexperienced family law attorney who handled many modification cases will know better about whether or not your circumstances are likely to result in the modification you seek. One of the most notable types of child custody modification cases that can be filed is child support. If you are paying child support based on an old order and your income has either gone up or gone down significantly from the time that order was entered, then you may be in line for a modification of the child support you pay. If your income has gone down, you would likely be the party to file the modification request to have your child support reduced. On the other hand, if your child support has increased, your co-parent would likely be interested in filing the modification.
Another example of a child custody modification that I think a parent like yourself should consider is if you have limited Visitation with your child based on an old final decree of divorce or a child custody case, you may be in a position to modify that order to allow for more time with your child now. I am thinking about a specific instance involving a former client who had problems with alcohol abuse in their former life. That client found our office to file a modification request to have increased Visitation with his son based on a standard possession order. When the lawsuit was filed, our client only had restricted Visitation with the child, meaning one overnight visit each month with weekly dinners totaling 2 hours per week. Based on the client's track record in maintaining his sobriety and not having any problems with the law or alcohol in over a decade, we were able to modify the order successfully.
Questions about Texas family law issues? 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, in via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about Texas family law and the office's services to our clients. I appreciate your interest in our law office, and we hope you will join us tomorrow here on our blog again.
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The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
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