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Are child custody orders in a divorce decree set in stone?

While a divorce decree is indeed binding, it is changeable. A Texas parent whose circumstances at the time of the divorce required him or her to agree to an ex-spouse having sole custody of their children may change. He or she may subsequently be in a position to spend more time with his or her children. This could be because of a change in employment that requires less traveling, or a medical condition that no longer presents a problem. Although not easy to accomplish, a child custody modification is possible.

Whatever the motivation to pursue such a modification might be, a family court will not consider changes that will not serve the child's best interest. If the relationship between the divorced parents permits, discussing intentions to apply for a modification -- and the reasons for doing it -- may avoid arguments and the need for litigation. If necessary, alternate methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, may be used to reach agreements.

A non-custodial parent will have to show that he or she had been in full compliance with the terms of the divorce decree. Missed or late child support payments, or failure to meet visitation arrangements, may jeopardize a parent's chances of obtaining joint custody. Claiming to be a responsible parent while Facebook evidence shows differently can also be detrimental.

Requesting the court to modify the child custody agreement in a divorce decree needs proper preparation. The assistance of an experienced Texas child custody attorney may be beneficial. A lawyer will assist a parent in preparing documentation to substantiate the motion for a modification by showing the ability and wish to be a responsible parent who wants what is best for his or her children.

Source: expertbeacon.com, "Modifying a divorce decree for child custody or child support", Brad M. Micklin, Accessed on May 1, 2015

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