Factors parents need to know about child custody modification

Parents often must work together to raise their children for several years after divorce. As the years go by, many parents realize that changes in circumstances may require a modification to their child custody arrangement. Generally, a parent who wishes to modify an existing child custody order must petition the court. Child Custody Modification in Texas Under Texas law, either parent may file a petition seeking child custody modification anytime. The petition must be filed in the court that granted the divorce, unless the child has moved. If this has happened, the case may be transferred to the court in the child’s new county. However, there are certain factors that must exist before a court will grant a change in present custody arrangements. Texas family law states that a court may modify a child custody order if the change is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies: The circumstances of the child or parent have materially or substantially changed since the date of the original child custody order or order to be modified. The child is at least 12 years of age and will tell the court in private chambers with the judge that he/she would like a change. The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months. After finding one of the three prerequisites, the court must still consider whether the change will be in the child’s best interest. Texas law states that the best interest of the child “shall always be the primary consideration” during child-custody disputes. List of Relevant Factors When examining the best interest of the child, Texas courts...

Are You Really Ready for Divorce?

People have a desire for companionship and they are willing to risk a lot for love. With 9 out of 10 Americans getting married at some point in their life, it seems like a good idea to get married. There are financial benefits and married couples are traditionally happier and more economically stable than their single, divorced, or separated counterparts. However, your marriage is in question and you’re facing a real dilemma. A divorce or separation is hard to deal with regardless of how your separation goes down. This will feel deeply frustrating. You will want to argue over details, assign blame, and defend your actions … but here’s the truth: it really doesn’t matter any more. The kindest thing you can do for you and your spouse if divorce is what you want is to be very clear about your decision and be clear about what you want. The Sooner the Better! For whatever the reasons, wrapping your mind around the fact that you’re getting divorced (or even thinking of divorce) is not to be taken lightly. It’s traumatic! Deciding to divorce is one of the most crucial decisions you can make with consequences that last for years or even a lifetime. Most couples who begin a divorce are unprepared and are often not even in agreement. Usually on some level there is a struggle to understand why it’s happening. You or both of you are not really ready for the divorce, but you know it is inevitable. Why Consult A Divorce Attorney? For divorce to be a collaborative and respectful process, you must be prepared and ready to separate your...

If You Get a Better Job Offer, Can You Modify a Custody Order for Relocation?

In today’s world, people often change jobs, relocate and sometimes even move out of the country to take advantage of a better job opportunity.  What happens when divorced couples face circumstances like these? Courts look at each case individually when considering requests for modification. Under the Texas Family code §153.134, courts are able impose residency restrictions. A landmark case that the Texas Supreme Court ruled on in 2002, called Lenz v. Lenz significantly affected the way Texas judges rule on modification requests for relocation. The Texas Family Code requires courts to consider whether the parents’ situation has substantially changed since the original order and also whether modification would be a positive improvement for the child and in the child’s best interests. In Lenz v. Lenz, the mother and father were both originally from Germany and moved to the United States when the father found a job here. They had two children, one was a U.S. citizen and one was a resident alien. Parents spoke German in the home, and raised the children with a strong emphasis on the German culture. After divorce, the mother became engaged to marry a man in Germany. In addition, she had extensive family on her and her ex-husband’s side living in Germany. The children had close relationships with their German relatives, had friends in Germany and would adapt well with a move. Also, the mother had trouble finding good employment in the United States and better job positions were available for her in Germany. The case eventually went to the Texas Supreme Court, and the court also considered whether the children would be able to...