Child Custody Modification

Child Custody Modification

Circumstances can change beyond the control of people involved in child custody orders. Certain events can dramatically impact a parent’s obligations or ability to satisfy certain requirements.

When a parent needs to modify a child custody order, he or she will have to file a motion with the court to change the order.

While a modification may not be as difficult when both spouses agree on the requested changes, when one parent opposes a modification, it may be subject to greater scrutiny by the court.

Lawyer Modification of Child Custody in Houston, TX

Are you or the other parent hoping to modify a child custody order in Southeast Texas? You will want to make sure that you contact [firm] before making any court appearance.

Michael Sydow is an experienced divorce attorney in Houston who represents clients in communities throughout Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Call [phone] today to have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.

Overview of Child Custody Modification in Harris County

Texas Child Custody Order Modification Laws

Texas Family Code § 156.101 establishes that the court can modify an order that provides for the appointment of a conservator of a child, the terms and conditions of conservatorship, or the possession of or access to a child if a modification would be in the best interest of the child and:

  • the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of the date of the rendition of the order; or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based;
  • the child is at least 12 years of age and has expressed to the court in chambers as provided by Section 153.009 the name of the person who is the child’s preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child; or
  • the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person for at least six months.

If a suit seeking to modify the designation of the person having the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of a child is filed not later than one year after the earlier of the date of the rendition of the order or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based, Texas Family Code § 156.102 states that the person filing the suit must execute and attach an affidavit containing—along with supporting facts—at least one of the following allegations:

  • that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development;
  • that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child is the person seeking or consenting to the modification and the modification is in the best interest of the child; or
  • that the person who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child for at least six months and the modification is in the best interest of the child.

It is considered a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a temporary order and modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that provides for the appointment of a conservator or that sets the terms and conditions of conservatorship or for the possession of or access to a child under Texas Family Code § 156.104 if a conservator is convicted of child abuse or under Texas Family Code § 156.1045 if a conservator is convicted of family violence.

The military duty of a conservator who is ordered to military deployment, military mobilization, or temporary military duty does not by itself constitute a material and substantial change of circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of an existing court order or portion of a decree that sets the terms and conditions for the possession of or access to a child under Texas Family Code § 156.105.

Examples of Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances in Harris County

For some parents, one of the more difficult aspects of a motion to modify a child custody order is proving that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Texas does not have a standard definition of what constitutes such a change in circumstances, so the applicability is quite broad.

In general, some of the most common kinds of scenarios that may be deemed to material and substantial changes in circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Job loss;
  • Increase or decrease in income;
  • Change in child’s medical insurance;
  • Remarriage; or
  • Relocation.

Many of these types of issues can be proven simply by submitting evidence that includes recent pay stubs or other related records.

Child Custody Modification Resources in Texas
Texas Family Code | Chapter 156. Modification — View the full text of the section of the Texas Family Code dealing with child custody modification. Subchapter B applies specifically to modification of conservatorship, possession, and access, or determination of residence. Sections under this subchapter include modifications of orders based on military duty, convictions for child abuse, and convictions for family violence.

Office of Harris County District Clerk | Courts — Visit this section of the Harris County District Clerk’s website to learn more about the Family Courts in Harris County. You can find a link to the District Courts website that will allow you to learn more about family court judges and locations. You can also find various family law forms on this website.

Find a Child Custody Modification Attorney in Houston, TX

If you or the other parent are going to attempt to modify a child custody agreement in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. [firm] helps individuals in Houston and several other nearby areas in Fort Bend County and Harris County.

Houston divorce lawyer Michael Sydow is a Fellow for both the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation. He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call [phone] or complete an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.