If the court-issued child custody orders are not serving the children’s best interests, it is possible to modify them in line with the prevailing circumstances. However, you have to follow the proper legal procedures. There are two ways to go about it in Texas.
You can agree with your co-parent on the necessary changes and sign modification suit forms for the court’s approval. If this is not possible due to objections by your co-parent, you can file a modification case in the county where the current order was made, although you can ask the court to transfer the case.
Possible reasons for custody modification
Under Texas laws and absent an agreement by both parents, a family court judge can modify existing custody orders under three circumstances:
- There have been material and substantial changes on either the child or parent that warrants the changes.
- The custodial parent is absent and has delegated the child’s care to another person for at least six months (unless they are on active duty military deployment).
- The child (over 12 years old) has expressed their custodial preference, and the court approves.
In short, a Texas family court will modify prior orders only if it is in the children’s best interests.
As the parent seeking the modification of custody orders, it is crucial to have supporting evidence of your claims or reasons behind your petition. If the court deems your modification case frivolous or intended to harass your co-parent, it could work against you in future custody decisions. You may also end up bearing your co-parent’s attorney fees.
Getting help with a custody modification case
Most likely, you are only after protecting your children’s welfare when you seek to modify custody orders. As such, it is worthwhile to reach out for help on how to best improve the chances of a desirable outcome.