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Parents or guardians who are named in a child custody agreement must adhere to the terms of the court order. If they fail to do so, then they could face serious penalties. However, it is natural for circumstances to change, and so Texas family law can allow for modifications so long as any changes are approved by a Judge.

Flexibility in family law matters important; however, it must also be balanced with the child’s well-being and need for stability. Therefore, Texas courts will only consider modifications if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

Child custody matters are often highly complex and emotional. Therefore, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can ensure that the child’s needs are prioritized and that your rights and needs are considered.

Skillern Firm Cypress Child Custody Lawyers

The child custody attorneys at Skillern Firm are dedicated to helping people navigate family law in Cypress, Houston, Sugarland, and surrounding areas.

When a child custody arrangement no longer aligns with a family’s needs, it should be changed. At Skillern Firm, we will help you and your ex-spouse agree on a modification wherever possible. This speeds up the process, saves money, helps protect important relationships, and shields children from further conflict.

However, we are also fierce litigators, and if mediation is not possible, we will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge.

Family law is based on the best interests of the child, which usually means prioritizing stability where possible. Therefore, custody modifications often face scrutiny and require substantial evidence to show why it is necessary.

Our family law firm is proud of our approach to the attorney-client relationship. We will take the time to understand your circumstances so that we can adapt to your needs and guide you to achieve a modification that supports you and your children.

Contact a Cypress, TX, family law attorney at 936-213-8479.

What Is A Child Custody Modification?

When the parents of a child are no longer together, they will often seek a court-issued child custody agreement. This may be part of a divorce decree, or if the parents were never married, then it could be a stand-alone arrangement.

It is important for parents to have a clear parenting plan that creates stability for them and their children. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and a current agreement may no longer work.

It is, therefore, possible to seek a child custody modification to make changes to the current parenting plan. A motion to modify child custody will be scrutinized by the court to ensure that grounds for modification have been met.

A Cypress modification attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for modification and will help you evidence your claims to give you the best chance of success.

Grounds For Modification In Texas

A child custody modification is not easy. The original agreement will have been made by prioritizing the child’s best interest, and so you will need to show why a different agreement is now in their best interests. Some examples of when a Judge may consider a modification include:

  • There has been a substantial and material change of circumstances for one of the people involved in the order. For example, one parent has a new job or has relocated.
  • The custodial parent has allowed someone else to fulfill the role of the primary caregiver for six months or more.
  • Both parents agree to the modification.
  • Interference with visitation rights.

Material Change In Circumstances

The most common justification for a child custody modification is a material and substantial change in circumstances. This is a broad term and it is up to the Judge’s discretion to determine whether your circumstances meet that criteria. Some common examples could include a new job, illness, or remarriage.

Another example could be if one parent is facing criminal charges that suggest that the child could be in danger. If you are concerned about your child’s welfare, then you should speak to a family law attorney as soon as possible so that they can help you evidence your claims.

Interference With Visitation Rights

Unless one parent has lost their parental rights due to a possible danger they pose to their child; both parents have a right to spend time with their child. It is common for one parent to take the role of primary custodian, but the other parent will almost always be granted visitation rights.

If the primary custodian prevents visitation for any reason, then this could be grounds for a modification. The court will not look favorably on a parent that makes it difficult for the other to see their child. The court may consider how they communicate and why the schedule was not followed to determine whether a modification is necessary.

Parent Relocation

A child custody case is likely to be complex. However, when one parent decides to relocate, then it can be particularly difficult to determine a schedule. It is unlikely that parents will be able to stick to the original child custody agreement, and parents should at least try to come to an arrangement amicably using mediation.

The courts will consider how the relocation will impact the child and the parent’s motivation for moving. If you or your child’s other parent has relocated or is planning to relocate, you should seek legal representation to ensure that a resolution is reached that meets the needs of you and your family.

Agreed Vs. Contested Child Custody Modification

Seeking a child custody modification is often easier if both parents agree. However, if parents cannot agree, then a modification may still be possible. Either way, a child custody modification lawyer can help the process move along at a steady pace and will maximize your chances at a successful outcome.

Contested Modification

Everyone wants what’s best for their children, but it is common for parents to disagree on what that is. As a result, it is common for parents to disagree on the need for a modification, or what the modification should look like.

When a child’s parents cannot agree on a modification, one parent will need to file for a contested modification. However, the Judge will expect parents to attempt to come to an agreement with the help of a trained mediator, such as the ones here at Skillern Firm.

When mediation fails, a hearing will be scheduled so that the court can make the final decision. A child custody attorney can help you navigate the legal system and will give you the best chance of success.

Considering the importance of custody arrangements, it is always recommended that you seek legal assistance. However, if you are facing a contested modification case, it is even more important that you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Contested cases are often more time-consuming and complex, and your ex-spouse and their attorney will also be given a chance to provide evidence for why they disagree with you. An attorney will help ensure that your circumstances are considered and will ensure that your children’s needs are prioritized at every stage.

Modification By Agreement

When both parents agree on the terms of a modification, the process often moves along more quickly. An experienced family law attorney can help you come to an amicable agreement using mediation. They will then submit your new agreement, along with evidence of why it is necessary, to a Judge. The Judge will review it, and if it is in line with the Texas Family Code, they are likely to approve it.

Although this may sound like the best option, it is important that you never compromise your rights or your child’s needs. A Cypress child custody modification attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and will ensure that your needs are considered.

Modification By Default

When one parent files for a modification, the other parent will be served with the proposed changes. They then have 20 days to respond to the agreement, where they will state whether they agree or disagree with the new terms. However, if they fail to respond within the allocated time, and the modification is in line with the Texas Family Code, then the modification should be approved by default.

If you have been served modification papers, then it is essential you respond to ensure that your needs are considered. If you are unsure of your next steps, then do not hesitate to arrange a consultation with an attorney at Skillern Firm.

Cypress Child Custody Modification Lawyer FAQ

Q: Where do I file For child custody modification?

A: If you are seeking a child custody modification, you must file in the same court where the original order was finalized. However, if the child has lived in another county for six months or more, then you may request to transfer your case to the child’s current home after the initial filing.

Q: Who can file for a child custody modification?

A: Anyone named in a child custody agreement can file for a modification. Although this is most often the parents of a child, it could be anyone who has guardianship.

Someone who has had actual care and possession of a child or who has lived with the child’s guardian for a minimum of 6 months may also file for a child custody modification, with the exception of foster parents.

Q: How long needs to have passed since the original order to file for a modification?

A: Usually, at least one year must have passed since the original order to file for a modification. This rule is in place to minimize disruption to a child’s life. However, there are circumstances where a modification could be granted sooner, such as if it is required to keep a child safe.

Q: Is it possible to modify a sole custody agreement?

A: If a sole custody agreement was put in place in the past because you were considered unsafe to your child, then it may still be possible to fight for a shared custody agreement such as joint legal custody. It will not be easy, as you will need to clearly show that you no longer pose a risk and that you have made substantial efforts to turn your life around. An attorney can help you to evidence your claims and will fight for your parental rights.

Speak to a Cypress Child Custody Modification Lawyer Today

At Skillern Firm, we understand the importance of high-quality legal representation to protect children and their families. We always prioritize the needs of children in every case and will work with you to find the best solution for your family.

Whether your case requires mediation or litigation, we have the skills, resources, and experience necessary to help. Speak to a Cypress child custody modification lawyer today by calling 936-213-8479.