Whether parents reach an agreement with each other through negotiations or a judge makes a decision about custody after hearing about the family’s circumstances, both of a child’s parents should typically do their best to abide by their custody order and support each other.
Families will eventually adjust to the process of exchanging custody routinely. However, there may come a point when one or both parents believe that the custody order requires some changes. Especially when one parent has far more time with the children than the other, the parent with less time may want to go back to court to request more parenting time if they cannot reach a mutually-agreeable adjustment with their co-parent.
When is it possible for a parent with shared custody in Texas to change the arrangements for how they share time with the other parent of their children?
When they agree to update the arrangements
Parents can typically enter into any voluntary arrangement that will sufficiently meet the needs of their children. If parents agree with one another to change how they divide parenting time, it is theoretically possible to update the custody order at any point while the children are still minors. Unfortunately, it is quite common for parents to disagree about the best division of parenting time and decision-making authority. One parent may want more time with the children, but the other may not want to sacrifice any of their time with the children. When can parents change a custody order if they don’t agree?
When there has been a significant change
In a situation where the parents do not agree about the need for custody modification, then the parent requesting the change will typically need to take the matter to the family courts. To have grounds to request a modification hearing, a parent typically needs to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances or that their current arrangements no longer serve the best interest of the children. Parents will need evidence of how their schedules or circumstances have changed. Those requesting more parenting time may need proof that they have stable living arrangements or that they have successfully addressed issues like substance abuse that led to the limitation of their parenting time initially.
Going back to court to update a custody order can be one way for a parent to protect their relationship with their children by spending more time with them. Negotiating a change with one’s co-parent and working with an attorney to finalize those adjustments is another.