Can child custody be modified after divorce?

Unlike death and taxes, child custody decrees are not set in stone. Though at the time of divorce, Round Rock area courts use every possible factor to determine custody for the best interests of the child, material and substantial circumstances can occur that require a change in the original child custody order. 

Modification is not applicable to every situation. To qualify, the petitioning parent must prove that the request is valid, necessary and for the betterment of the child. Common circumstances that result in child custody changes include the following: 

  • Voluntarily relinquishment of custody
  • Relocation issues
  • The child is old enough to have input about the order
  • Dire change in health, finances, employment and living conditions 

Child’s parental preference 

Evidence is necessary to get the courts to consider modifying a child custody arrangement. There are also many other factors that a judge considers before granting or denying any modification requests. Consider this scenario: A teenage child suddenly decides that he or she would be better off in the care and custody of the noncustodial parent. The parent files a child modification request, and after interviewing the child, the judge will base the final decision on whether or not change is in the child’s best interests. If it is, the arrangement will comply with the teen’s preference. 

Life changes 

Employment and health changes can have a major effect on one’s finances and ability to follow the original child custody order. When there is a drastic drop in income, the need for expensive or invasive medical procedures or other extenuating circumstances, it might become necessary for a custodial parent to give up custody temporarily or permanently. 

It is important for parents to let the courts know about any life changes that could impact a child custody agreement instead of trying to handle them on their own. Failure to abide by a court-ordered child custody arrangement is unlawful and carries severe consequences.

FindLaw Network
Heidi L. Heinrich
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