Change is inevitable and constant. The custody agreement that made sense for your family 2, 3, 5, or 10 years ago might not make sense now.
When a “material change in circumstance” occurs it is possible to modify custody arrangements. That can be done by changing the identity of the primary conservator, changing parenting time arrangements, or even changing sole custody arrangements to joint custody arrangements or vice versa.
For example, if the primary conservator falls severely ill such that he or she cannot meet the child’s needs, typically it would become both necessary and desirable to make the other parent the primary conservator, and to adjust parenting time schedules accordingly.
How long does a custody modification take?
It depends on when the custody modification is taking place. The modification can proceed more quickly if it’s been more than about two years since your divorce decree was signed. If your divorce is more recent, the court might give the modification request more scrutiny, seeing it as an attempt to circumvent the court’s original ruling. In Texas there is usually a 1-year waiting period before an agreement can be modified.
After that, it can take several months for the courts to make a decision. You can use that time to work with your attorney to build the most convincing case possible.
How do I prepare for custody modification?
You’ll need to produce proof of the material change in circumstance. Such proof can include paystubs, unemployment documents, medical documents, and witness statements. Your family law attorney will go over the list with you and help you identify the best evidence to make your case. The key is always to demonstrate how you are the better conservator for your child now, rather than to focus on why the other parent is the worse parent.
Is it hard to change a custody agreement?
It depends on the reasons for the change. If you simply want to pull the child out from an existing custody arrangement for personal, arbitrary, or unclear reasons, then yes, it can be very hard to win such a case. But if you have a strong best-interest-of-the-child argument the court is likely to grant your request.
If you’re not sure about the feasibility of your case you can contact your attorneys for a consultation. We’ll tell you whether you have a good chance of a successful modification of custody. Contact Evans Family Law Group in Austin and Bastrop to schedule a consultation today.