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The importace of Holley v. Adams in child custody modification cases

by | Apr 9, 2021 | Firm News |

It’s not uncommon for divorced or separated parents to request a modification to their child custody agreement and it stands to reason. Children’s lives change dramatically as they get older, as they move from school to school, and as they develop new interests. When you’re planning a decree to cover children in primary school, for instance, you can’t necessarily predict that they’re going to have after-school sports practices or weekly tutoring sessions that might be much closer to one parent’s house . 

But parents also change over time. A parent who was less engaged with the children at the time of the divorce may have a better relationship with them now and want to spend more time with them. It might be better for you to shift from a standard parenting time plan of Thursday nights and first, third, and fifth weekends to a one-week-on, one-week-off plan. 

But you’ll have to make the case that it’s better for your children. And that’s where knowing about Holley v. Adams can be helpful. 

According to Justia, Holley v. Adams is a case that came before the Texas Supreme Court in 1976. It involved a couple who had one child and then divorced; the father raised the child while the mother led a bit of a nomadic life before settling in the Pacific Northwest. The father sought termination of the parent-child relationship, while the mother asserted that the termination was not in the best interest of the child. 

(In this case, the father was not able to provide enough compelling reasons for the judge to terminate the mother’s relationship with their son.)  

The case gave a number of items to help ascertain the “best interest of the child,” including: 

  • the desires of the child;
  • the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future;
  • the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
  • the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody;
  • the programs available to assist these individuals to promote the best interest of the child;
  • the plans for the child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody;
  • the stability of the home or proposed placement;
  • the acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
  • any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.

For a parent looking to change a parenting plan in the decree, these are good criteria to keep in mind. While it ultimately depends on the judge hearing the case to determine what’s in the best interest of the child, it also depends on the party petitioning the court for change to make a compelling argument for that change. It has to factor in what’s best for the child in a convincing fashion. Otherwise, it might just be something that the parent asking for the change wants, and that’s not likely to be granted. 

If you want to change your parenting plan with us at your side, it’s best to do an initial consultation with the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance to determine what’s best for you. It’s possible you know exactly why a change is needed and it clearly is in your child’s best interest. Other times, it might not be so clear cut, and only might coalesce as your case once we talk through it. But it’ll be worth it to make sure what you want to change is truly in your child’s best interest—and whether a judge will see it that way.