When parents start living in separate houses because they break up or divorce, they have to find a way to share parental responsibilities and rights. Some parents cooperate with one another to negotiate their own parenting plan, while others ask a Texas family law judge to divide parenting time and decision-making authority.
Whichever approach you employed when you first realized you had to split custody with your ex, the two of you have an obligation to cooperate with one another and to uphold the existing plan whenever possible. When your situation changes, you may need to consider seeking a custody modification.
When would a formal change to your parenting plan be appropriate and reasonable?
When the family has scheduling changes
Did your ex pull your kids out of public school to start homeschooling them with your consent? Those arrangements may drastically shift how much time either of you can spend with the children.
Getting a new job or moving to a different shift at work could also be reasons why you need to consider a custody modification. When there has been a substantial change to your household schedule, a judge may agree to adjust your parenting schedule accordingly.
When your children aren’t safe
Has your ex started drinking heavily since the divorce, becoming blackout drunk while the children are in their care? Do they have a new boyfriend who has become physically abusive toward them or the kids?
There are numerous situations in which shared custody arrangements might endanger the children. If you have evidence of neglect or abuse, that could be a compelling reason to pursue a custody modification.
When your parenting relationship changes
Sometimes, your children growing older will mean that your relationship with them improves or changes in some noticeable way.
When you are in a position to provide better support for your child or when they specifically want more time with you because the two of you connect well, a judge may consider granting you more parenting time for the benefit of your children. Older children may even be able to assert their own wishes if you file a request for a modification hearing.
Recognizing when your circumstances are right for a custody modification will help you arrange a parenting plan that is optimal for your children.