“What happens when coparents disagree? The most disagreeable parent wins…” said one fed up and not-so-disagreeable dad named Peter.
There’s a lot for divorced parents to disagree about during this time of COVID-19: In-school or home-school, visiting with big family, small family or no family, traveling or not. Even when you aren’t dealing with the uncertainties of a pandemic, there are many situations in a child’s home and school life that can cause conflict:
- What to do with “problem” friends?
- Who handles the driving?
- How do you balance sports and other activities?
- When a teen gets a job, whose parenting time is reduced?
Even parents who weathered the early years well can find themselves at an impasse when their children’s lives (or their own lives) change. That’s when you may need to consider modification of a court order of child custody with the help of Fort Worth child custody lawyer Wayne Ward. Contact our office for help.
When Co-parenting Isn’t Working Well
“Is fuming a strategy?” Peter asked.
No, it’s not, but it’s certainly a strategy a lot of parents try, often for a long time, before they finally decide they’ve got to address the situation head on by taking their Standard Possession Order (child custody) or parenting plan back to court.
If you and your co-parent have an overall good relationship, you might be able to sit down and work things out between yourselves. You can also try family mediation. Mediation isn’t only for divorce. It’s a cost-effective method for resolving many kinds of disputes and there are family mediators throughout the Fort Worth area who can help you.
If the agreements you reach are different from what was outlined in your Standard Possession Order and access schedule, talk to a Ft Worth family law attorney about going back to court to seek a modification of your child custody court order. You will not be able to legally enforce the agreements you’ve made if they aren’t incorporated into a new order signed by a family court judge.
When Co-parenting Fails
Some parents find themselves in a situation where their co-parent’s behavior has become a hazard and a safety concern.
- Are there “unsafe” people in the other parent’s home?
- Are there unsecured weapons in the home?
- Is the other parent using drug or alcohol when your child is around? Are they driving drunk with your child in the car?
- Does the other parent have a mental health issue that’s interfering with their ability to care for your child?
It may seem clear to you that these are unsafe situations, but a judge can’t accept just your word for it. You need to prove there’s a real problem and a pressing need to change a child custody order, especially if you want sole custody and want to limit the other parent’s access to the child.
Talk to your child custody lawyer about what you need to do to build a case for modification of your child custody order. You can start with these actions:
- In a journal, write down every violation of your existing order, record the things your child is telling you and note situations that you think are unsafe.
- Take your child to a psychologist to get a professional opinion of the impact the other parent’s behavior is having on your child. A child psychologist is a mandated reporter so they are required to report concerns about a child’s safety to the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services. The word of a professional carries a lot of weight in court.
If you believe your child is in immediate danger in the other parent’s home, you can try to talk the other parent into releasing the child voluntarily into your care or into the care of a neutral family member. If that doesn’t work, you can also call the police or the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services.