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Law Offices of Rebecca Gonzalez, P.C.
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A child custody situation can change for certain reasons

If your current child custody order is not working for you or the other parent, you may be able to modify it. You can request a modification through joint consent, or one of the parents can file a petition with the court.

A judge will not automatically grant a modification request, even if both parents agree to the changes. There typically needs to be a substantial change in circumstances for a judge to change a custody order.

Child custody modification basics

According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, parents generally cannot request a modification unless it has been at least one year since the current one came into effect. However, either parent can request a change within one year if the request meets certain legal requirements.

After filing a petition for a custody modification, the parents must continue to follow the terms of the current order until the judge approves a new one.

Justifications for modification

A judge will usually only consider a modification request within one year of the current order if one of three things occurs:

  • The present living situation is putting the child’s mental or physical health in danger
  • The parent with primary custody allowed another party to have possession and primary care of the child for a minimum of six months unless the parent is on active military deployment
  • The parent with primary custody agrees to the modification

If a modification request occurs after one year of the current order, the parent needs to prove that there has been a significant change, although the law does not specifically define what these changes are. Some examples include if a parent’s work schedule has changed dramatically if a parent is relocating or there is proof of substance or physical abuse. Once a child turns 12, the judge will also consider his or her preference for the primary caretaker.

When deciding on a modification request, the biggest factor that a judge considers is what is in the best interest of the child.

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