For many parents who have already gone through a difficult divorce, the change to the relationship with their children is the hardest part of moving on with their lives. It is unusual for Texas courts to award sole custody to one parent over the other in modern divorces.
Shared custody arrangements are more common because the courts want to create a solution that works in the best interest of the children. Having the love and support of both parents is usually what is best for the kids, even if it does create more strain on the parents.
Sometimes, one parent doesn’t have custody because they chose not to seek it during the divorce. It is also possible that they don’t have shared custody because they did try to seek it, but situational factors, ranging from unemployment to substance abuse, prevented them from showing the courts their ability to parent. If you don’t have the time with your kids that you want and you are now ready to take a stand, it might be time to consider filing for a child custody modification.
What is a custody modification?
As the name implies, a custody modification is a court order that changes the terms of the parenting plan the courts originally produced or approved. Requesting more time with your children is a common reason to file a modification request.
The courts will review the circumstances and the original order before determining if granting the modification request aligns with the best interests of the children. If your ex agrees, you can file an uncontested modification request. However, you can also pursue a modification if your ex doesn’t agree.
What do you need to secure modification?
In terms of initial paperwork, requesting a modification to your custody order is as simple as submitting a motion for a modification hearing. However, you will need documentation and evidence to present to the courts when you have that hearing.
From evidence of substance abuse counseling to proof of a new job and receipts that you have paid rent at a home where the children could visit, you will need proof that you are in a position to assume or share custody of your kids.
More time with the kids could mean less child support
When the Texas courts determine what amount of child support is reasonable for your circumstances, one of the most important factors is the amount of time the children spend in the home of either parent. When you have custody of the children, you will have financial obligations to provide them with food, shelter and the other basic necessities of life.
Seeking shared custody can mean that you have to pay less child support. In some cases, if the courts order an even split, you may even find yourself no longer required to pay child support.
Your kids will benefit from your investment in the relationship
Some parents hesitate to seek a modification because they worry about disturbing the routine that their ex has developed with the children since the divorce. However, no matter how nice their family life currently is, your children want to spend time with you.
They will appreciate that you asserted your parental rights and value your time with them. While there may be some hiccups as you adjust to your new arrangements, in the long run, your entire family will likely benefit from you playing a more active role in the lives of your children