When a judge orders a child custody agreement, there is an understanding that family dynamics may change in the future.
To accommodate changes, custody modifications are available in Texas.
Who can file a custody modification claim?
According to Texas family law, either parent, custodial or non-custodial, may file a claim for modification of custody. They must file the petition in the same court that granted the original order unless the child lives somewhere different. In that case, the court may allow a transfer to the child’s local county court.
What must the parent demonstrate?
Ideally, both parents would agree on the custody change, leaving only a review from the judge, who then grants the change as long as it is in the child’s best interests. However, that is often not the case. When parents cannot agree on a custody change, the parent petitioning for modification must demonstrate one of three things:
- The child is 12 or older and wants the changes suggested by the petitioner.
- The petitioner has a material or substantial change in circumstances.
- The suggested changes would serve the child best.
Once a child turns 12, they have a profound say in custody. If they do not agree to the terms, the judge will not grant the order without the material or substantial circumstances.
When will the judge grant a modification?
Job relocations, unemployment, medical conditions and abuse or neglect are generally solid claims for modification.
As always, any claim brought before the just must reflect the child’s best interests.