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Child Custody Modification, A Podcast with Mark L. Scroggins

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Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification, A Podcast with Mark L. Scroggins

About child custody modification suits

In this edition of the monthly Scroggins Law Group Divorce and Family Law Podcast, Mark L. Scroggins talks about the common reasons for and what to expect in a child custody modification suit, when the previously entered custody order no longer works.

Scroggins Law Group serves families in Dallas, Denton, and Collin Counties with offices in Dallas and Frisco, Texas. With questions about this podcast about child custody modification suits and other related divorce and custody questions, please call Scroggins Law Group at (214) 469-3100.

A child custody modification suit is a new court action to update and change the court’s order regarding conservatorship or possession and access of a child. In most cases, conservatorship is not modified unless there are serious problems with one of the parents. Therefore, most modifications involve changing the parenting time and the possession schedule.

It is important to note that functioning co-parents can work together to balance conflicting schedules and possession time. When there is conflict and the parents cannot agree, they fall back to the court’s order for possession and access. If that is the case and there are further conflicts and situations making the current order impossible, a modification may be available, if the court finds such in the child’s best interests.

What circumstances often lead to child custody modifications?

When the previously entered child custody order does not work, it may be appropriate to modify the child custody order. For example, if you have a 50/50 custody plan with 2-2-3 or a 2-2-5 rotation schedule may no longer work when kids grow older. As children get more involved in school and extracurricular activities, their schedules start conflicting with that shared custody order.

Children’s schedules are not the only reason to modify child custody orders. Sometimes one of the parents has a life-changing event making it difficult to keep the current order. Examples include new job opportunities requiring relocation, new relationships and marriages, and drug, alcohol, or other intervening factors that make co-parenting impractical under the current order.

This article, 5 survival tips for busy parents of busy kids, is full of pointers for keeping everyone on track.

Modification suits are original suits, what does that mean and why does that matter? 

A child custody modification suit is nothing to take lightly. While the case is filed with the same court that entered the original orders, a modification is a new proceeding and formalities like a new divorce or suit affecting a parent and child relationship. As such, people should be prepared for more than just a quick trip to court to ask the judge to modify the order.

An alternative to a full court proceeding is to use alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation, to come to an agreement among yourselves. An agreement can be presented to the court for approval and entry to order the new arrangement. The court must find the modified plan acceptable and in the best interests of the child.

What is standing and who has standing to file a child custody modification suit?

In a Texas divorce and family law case, standing means the right to file suit. In a child custody modification, the parents named in the court’s order, as custodians or guardians, have standing to file a child custody modification suit. In addition, an intervening governmental entity such as the Department of Family and Protective Services can assert standing in a case, which is possible but not common.

Listen to the podcast and listen to Mark L. Scroggins explain the issues involved in suits to affect child custody orders in greater detail. Call Scroggins Law Group if you need help. (214) 469-3100.

Modifying an order establishing conservatorship or possession and access

Conservators are appointed with rights and duties concerning the child. As parents, conservatorship is usually joint unless, for good cause, one parent is appointed the sole conservator. Conservatorship is not the same as possession and access. For a parent’s conservatorship status to be modified there is usually a significant impairment to their ability to exercise their parental rights and duties.

Modification of exclusive right to establish the primary residence of a child within one year

One of the rights appointed to conservator parents is the exclusive right to establish the primary residence of the child. If within one year of the entry of an order establishing this right, there is a procedure and grounds for the court to hear evidence and affidavits of the parties to determine if it is in the best interests of the child to enter a new order regarding the parent who may determine where the child will live. Modification of these rights is based on the material and substantial changes in the circumstances of the child or one or both of the parties named in the order, within a year of the most recent custody order.

Read our article, Moving for work or family: The right to determine a child’s primary residence.

Modification of an order based on conviction of child abuse, family violence

When the court reviews the grounds alleged in a suit for custody modification, a conviction of one of the parties, for child abuse or family violence is an appropriate ground for modification. If the children named in child custody agreements are in danger, prompt action should be taken to prevent their safety. Call Scroggins Law Group if you have concerns about the health and safety of a child.

Scroggins Law Group strategy and child custody modification

Scroggins Law Group attorneys advise and represent clients in Dallas, Denton and Collin Counties with offices in Dallas and Frisco, Texas. Principal attorney Mark L. Scroggins is Board Certified in Family Law in Texas and has many years experience focused on complex and challenging divorce and child custody matters affecting families in the DFW Metroplex.

Every family is unique and at Scroggins Law Group, we create custom strategies to represent clients with complex family issues involving child custody and modifications. Call Scroggins Law Group today at (214) 469-3100 to schedule a confidential consultation to address your rights and options.