The holidays are approaching, and with them comes a heightened potential for custody conflicts. Parents will want to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day with their kids. It is only natural. However, after a divorce, they may have to surrender some parenting time days in exchange for others.
Divorced spouses typically agree to a standard possession order before a court approves it. A standard possession order determines how you and the other parent will share physical custody of your children when you have joint managing conservatorship. It provides a parenting time schedule that allocates how you divide all the days of a year, including holidays. But what if your former spouse wants to modify the court orders to obtain more time with your kids during the holidays?
Can your spouse modify custody court orders?
In Texas, the court may allow a modification of current possession orders if it determines it to be in your children’s best interests. Either parent has the right to file a modification suit to change or modify existing court orders, including conservatorship, support and possession orders. A court may move to finalize an uncontested modification suit by the following:
- By agreement: Both parents are willing to sign the modification suit form because they agree to all the terms and modifications.
- By default: One parent serves the other modification forms, and the other does not file an answer or appear in court.
If you disagree with the modifications, you can contest the modification suit and file your answer through another form with the court. Consider consulting with an attorney before submitting your response. Remember, if you do not file an answer, the modification suit will finish by default, meaning the petitioner can finish it without you.
Sticking to the status quo
If you already agreed on a fair parenting time schedule, they should not be able to change it whenever they please. Modifications should only be possible when necessary because these can cause confusion and instability in your kids. You have just as much a right to be with your kids on the holidays as the other parent.