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You can seek custody even if you're estranged from the kids

When a marriage starts to break down, the way you respond may not always be the most logical approach. Some people tend to withdraw from relationships when they can see that the end is near. You might choose to leave the family home or start taking more travel assignments at work, thus limiting the amount of time you have to spend in a tense household.

Unfortunately, this approach can be particularly problematic for the parent who pulls away from the family. The courts could very well give primary or even sole custody of your children to your ex as a result of your withdrawing from the family unit.

As time goes by, it may become obvious that your ex does not have the financial or emotional stability to properly care for your children. In that situation, you need to step up and do what's right for your kids, which could very well be seeking full custody or at least shared custody depending on the circumstances.

You have the right to seek a modification at any time

Perhaps you have finally come to terms with the end of your marriage and are ready to start rebuilding your relationship with your kids. Maybe you have begun to notice that your ex's behavior or issues have had an impact on your children's health or happiness. Whatever the impetus may be, you have the right to go to the Texas family courts and ask for a modification.

If your ex agrees with the terms you want, you can file an uncontested modification. However, it is also possible to request a modification for terms that your ex does not approve of or like. A contested modification may require more planning and documentation to support your request, but that doesn't mean it is impossible. In fact, in some cases, the children themselves may testify that they would prefer that you either get to share custody or assume primary custody.

The state may ask you to step up if they terminate parental rights

Sometimes, there are extreme circumstances that force the state of Texas to take action before you take action yourself. Perhaps your ex got arrested or reported to Child Protective Services because of abusive or dangerously negligent behavior.

If the state substantiates the claim and decides to temporarily or permanently terminate the rights of your ex to parent your children, the state may approach you right away to assume custody. In that situation, your best option will be to step up and be the parent your kids need in that moment.

Whether the state has reached out to you over concerns about your ex's parenting or you simply believe it is time to deepen your relationship with the children, you may need to start exploring your rights as an estranged parent under Texas law. Between the right to seek a modification of a child custody order and your parental rights that should take effect if your ex's rights get terminated, there are several ways in which you can increase your parenting time.

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