It goes without saying that much has changed about life in America in 2020. Most notably, the global pandemic has affected many aspects of work and family life.

This “new normal” has led to unforeseen complications for many parents whose child custody agreements no longer align with the parents’ current work situations or the schooling and health care needs of the kids. Many parents in Texas are wondering what their options are for modifying their existing custody agreements.

Is a child custody or support modification appropriate for your family?

For a court to approve a modification of child custody or support, the parent requesting a modification must show that circumstances have changed significantly. In any case, the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the children.

Both parents may be in agreement about a modification of custody or support, or the parents may disagree. Either way, it is important to take the proper legal steps with the help of a family law attorney if you are seeking to modify a custody or support order, or if you are seeking to prevent a modification from happening.

In these uncertain times, common issues for parents to consider include:

  • Whether the children will return to school in person or not
  • Changes to day care schedules and the associated increase or decrease in cost
  • Job schedule or income changes for either parent
  • Emerging health care needs of the children, including the ability of either parent to ensure the health and safety of the kids

If your current custody and support arrangement does not adequately address these matters and reflect the current reality of your family situation, you may have grounds for a custody or support modification. Again, it is always best to seek legal guidance before making any major or long-term changes to parenting schedules, and it is always important to seek legal guidance before making any changes to child support payments. If you don’t get legal counsel and official approval from the court by way of a signed order, any disputes that arise could be more costly for all parties involved — the parents and the children. It is best to memorialize your child custody agreement with a document that has been drafted and carefully reviewed by an experienced family law attorney.

For more on the grounds for seeking a custody or support modification in Texas, please see our overview of post-divorce modifications and our overview of parental relocation.