Parents who do not cohabitate but share children with one another have to arrange a parenting plan. They can establish their own schedule for custody and other arrangements for other terms and then submit that paperwork to the courts. They can also litigate and ask a judge to set parenting plan terms that would be in the best interest of the children in the family.
Despite the best intentions of everyone involved, Texas parenting plans often become outdated shortly after court proceedings. Changes to employment arrangements, children moving from middle school to high school and numerous other family circumstances might change what would be an appropriate custody arrangement for your family.
While you may feel tempted to simply talk the situation out with the other parents, there are two very good reasons to go back to Texas family court and ask for a custody modification.
Your co-parent could change their mind
Perhaps when you first divorced, you worked a high-demand job but have switched now and are capable of more evenly dividing parenting time. Perhaps you struggled with mental health issues or living arrangement problems which meant the children could be with you for any lengthy amount of time. Now that you have resolved those issues, you want more time with your children.
While the other parent might agree to give you more time with the children when you ask during a drop-off, they might change their mind later. They could then accuse you of parental kidnapping for keeping the children longer than should or simply refuse to let you see the children as scheduled. A formal modification protects you from lost time with your children and unnecessary enforcement actions.
Custody affects support
Whether you are the parent paying child support or receiving payments from the other parent, you need to understand that big changes to your parenting time can mean a change in financial obligations as well. If you don’t officially update your custody arrangements with the courts, then you won’t be able to ask for more child support or reduce how much you pay according to your current schedule.
Filing a formal modification request can be as simple as submitting an agreement with your ex to the courts or may involve litigation. Understanding why custody modifications are worth pursuing can help you better advocate for yourself as a co-parent.