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Can I Modify a Child Custody Order in Texas?

 Posted on May 23, 2023 in Child Custody

Irving, Texas Child Custody LawyerIn Texas, unmarried and divorced parents are often subject to a child custody order. While the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are still sometimes used in casual conversation, Texas law specifically refers to custody issues in terms of “conservatorship” and “possession and access.”

Texas courts allow modifications of a child conservatorship or possession and access order in certain situations. However, you will need to meet specific criteria to be granted a modification. Read on to learn more.

A Custody Modification Must Be in the Child’s Best Interests

In any child-related legal matter, Texas courts are primarily focused on doing what is best for the child. For the court to grant you a custody modification, you will need to demonstrate that the modification is in the child's best interests. Additionally, you will need to prove that at least one of the following is true:

  • You, your child, or your child’s other parent has experienced a change in circumstances necessitating the modification. Texas law specifically states that the change in circumstances must be a “material and substantial change.” Examples of changes in circumstances that may warrant a custody modification include moving to a new residence, significant health problems, a new job, the birth of a new child, or a parent being incarcerated.

  • The child is 12 years old or older and has stated a preference regarding which parent he or she should primarily live with.

  • The parent with the exclusive right to designate the child's primary residence willingly gives up primary care and possession of the child to another individual for six months or longer.

Modification Requests Within One Year of the Establishment of the Custody Order

Texas courts aim to promote stability and consistency in the life of a child. Consequently, there are stricter requirements for modifications made within one year of the original custody order or settlement agreement.

If it has been less than a year since the custody order was established, you must provide an affidavit stating that:

  • The current custody scenario could endanger the child's health or emotional development.

  • The parent with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence consents to the modification.

  • The parent with the exclusive right to designate the child's primary residence willingly surrendered the primary care and possession of the child for six months or longer, and the modification is in the child's best interests.

It should be noted that relinquishing primary care and possession due to military service does not count toward the requirements for custody modification, regardless of when the modification request is initiated.

Contact our Dallas Child Custody Lawyer for Help With Modifications

Modifying a child custody order can be much more complex than many parents expect. If you have encountered problems or challenges regarding your child custody order, contact our skilled Dallas family law attorney Michelle Poblenz for personalized legal assistance. Call 469-845-3031 for a confidential consultation.



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