Family law judges often have to make very difficult decisions. State law admonishes them to prioritize the best interest of the children and the family when making custody determinations. For most married couples facing divorce, shared custody is the most likely outcome.
Children typically benefit from having close relationships with both of their parents following a divorce or separation. However, there are occasionally circumstances that justify a judge’s decision to limit one parent’s custody time or even only grant them visitation, not legal decision-making authority and an equal share of parenting time.
If you only received the right to visitation or if the division of parenting time is highly uneven and not in your favor, you can possibly go back to court and ask for more time with the children after your divorce.
When your situation improves, you can have more parenting time
Typically, judges will have a reason for limiting someone’s access to or time with the children in a custody dispute. Whether you didn’t have a stable living arrangement yet or you struggled with depression in the early stages of your divorce, a judge may have felt that limiting your time with the children would be the safest choice for them.
Once you improve your personal circumstances, you will be in a good position to ask a Texas family law judge for a custody modification. They can review your existing custody order and then make changes, possibly granting you more time with the children and decision-making authority. The more documentation you have affirming that you have made positive changes, the easier it will be for you to convince a judge that granting you more time with the children will be in their best interest.
Don’t fall into the informal modification trap
Some people would prefer to stay out of court after a messy divorce or previous custody battle. They may try making a proposal to their ex regarding possible changes to the custody arrangement.
There’s nothing wrong with cooperating with your ex, as their approval of your suggestions could lead to an uncontested modification hearing. However, simply making an arrangement with them could put you at legal risk. They could request enforcement support and accuse you of parental kidnapping. Beyond that, you won’t be able to enforce your rights if they deny you parenting time.
Recognizing when it is time to consider a post-decree custody modification will protect your relationship with your children.