If you’re a parent who is getting a divorce, you’re going to have to address child custody before your divorce can be signed off by the judge. Generally, parents are encouraged to come up with an arrangement that is in their children’s best interests and assuming everything looks good, the judge will sign off on whatever arrangement the parents work out during the divorce process.
Whether you’re planning on making such an arrangement or if you’ve already addressed child custody and had an order issued by the court, you may not realize it but there’s a very good chance you’ll end up back in court to modify the original child custody order. In fact, you may not change it once but on multiple occasions. Is this normal? It sure is.
Child Custody is Subject to Change
Family courts in Texas and nationwide consider child custody orders to be open-ended or “subject to change” because they are changed a lot. Why are they changed? Because as time goes by and as children get older, life circumstances and children’s needs change.
If you’re planning on making your first child custody arrangement, whether it’s through a divorce or paternity action, realize that it may be temporary and, in the future, it may need to be changed. It may even be modified on a few occasions.
Let’s look at the common reasons why custody is modified:
- The custodial parent commits family violence
- The custodial parent commits child neglect
- The custodial parent develops a substance abuse problem
- The custodial parent is incarcerated
- The child does not like the custodial parent’s new partner or spouse
- The custodial parent becomes disabled or mentally ill
- The custodial parent gets terminally ill or passes away
- The child gets older and wants to move in with the other parent
- The custodial parent wants to move away and the child wants to stay put
If you are the noncustodial parent and you want custody of your child and your ex agrees, it’s still important to get it in writing so it’s legally-enforceable. Also, if there is a significant change in custody, child support should probably be changed too.
Child support orders remain in force until a court says otherwise, so if the order needs to be changed, the noncustodial parent will have to go to court. Otherwise, it will remain in effect and the money will have to be paid regardless if the child has been living in the noncustodial parent’s home.
Need to petition the court for a change in custody and possibly child support? Contact The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline today for help.