In Texas, there must be significant evidence that there is a substantial change in circumstances which would necessitate the modification of an existing child custody or visitation arrangement. It can be difficult to obtain such a modification, particularly if an individual is attempting to do so without experienced legal counsel.
An out-of-state mother is learning exactly how difficult this is. The woman is the mother of a 12-year-old boy with a rare neurological disease that is wreaking havoc on the boy's body. Sadly, doctors say that there is nothing more they can to do to extend this child's life, and he is expected to pass away soon.
The present visitation agreement has the boy visiting his father every other weekend. However, the mother petitioned a judge to have this modified so that the boy would not be transported due to his frail health, effectively denying the father his visitation rights.
The presiding judge did not grant this mother her request. The boy was set to be transferred for the father's visitation. However, the judge did rule that the child should be brought to his paternal grandmother's house instead of his father's house because that meant the child would have to travel a shorter distance. Also, the grandmother is a licensed nurse practitioner, so he would be well taken care of.
This is a difficult situation for both sides. The father regrets that this is happening, saying that he is not looking to argue in court, rather that he only wants to have a few last days with his son. He wants his son to be in a comfortable environment, and the father says the boy's mother is welcomed to visit every day.
The father said of the circumstances, "I understand where that fear comes from but how would she feel if I took him away from her. I want to just grieve for my child." It is not unusual that parents will disagree on what is best for a child, often times it will rest in the hands of a judge to decide. In such scenarios, it is important to retain a legal advocate that will fight for the best interest of you and your child.
Source: Kare 11, "Jordan mother petitions judge to keep dying son home," Jay Olstad, Dec. 14, 2012
- Our firm has experience handling similar situations in Texas. For more information, please refer to our Houston modification page.