If you have been divorced for a few years or undergone some major life changes, it might dawn on you that the carefully crafted custody order signed by the family law court judge no longer meets the needs of your changing family.
Sometimes parents informally agree to alter the child custody arrangements without involving the courts. This might work well – until it doesn’t. All it takes is one angry disagreement with your co-parent to get served with a contempt of court petition for not following the custody order to upset the applecart of your life.
There is a better way
Rather than taking the law into your own hands and altering the terms of the custody order (and potentially exposing yourself to the contempt of court charge), it is wiser to petition the court for a child custody modification.
Below are some valid reasons why a court may agree to modify the original custody order for your children:
- Your child is unsafe in your co-parent’s custody. Your child’s safety is paramount. Divorce (and life in general) can bring unwelcome changes. Your co-parent could develop an alcohol or drug problem or enter a relationship fraught with episodes of domestic violence.
- One parent moves to a distant location. Maybe their company transfers them out of state, or they remarry someone who lives outside of Texas. If they can no longer uphold the terms of the custody agreement, a modification may be the solution.
- The children have outgrown the terms of the order. What worked well when the kids were toddlers no longer fits their teen or tween lifestyle. Commitments to school, part-time jobs, athletics and other extracurricular activities might interfere with the parenting plan already in place.
These are not the sole reasons for modifying your custody agreement, but they are some of the most common. Research your options for tweaking the order so that your family can remain legally compliant with Texas laws regarding child custody.