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Modifying Child Custody in Texas

Our children are the most important people in the world to us.  No matter what happens, we want to take care of them and make sure that they have a comfortable and happy life. 

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    Our children are the most important people in the world to us.  No matter what happens, we want to take care of them and make sure that they have a comfortable and happy life.  That’s why, when custody arrangements are decided, they’re done so with the child’s best interest in mind.  However, situations change and sometimes the agreement needs to be modified to better handle these new circumstances.  In order for both children and parents to be better accommodated, child custody can be legally modified.  Let’s take a look at how this is done.

    When Custody Can Be Modified

    Texas law states that either parent can try to get their child custody modified at any time.  There are two circumstances that allow this to happen: when both parents agree to the modification or when one parent petitions the court for modification.  

    When both parents agree, they must file a request with the court with their agreement attached.  This route is much easier than the alternative but, unfortunately, parents don’t always agree during these situations.  If they disagree, the parent that wants to modify the custody agreement must submit a petition to the court stating why the modification is necessary.

     It’s important to note that, many times, parents must wait a year until they can change their custody order.  That being said, if there are substantial changes in circumstances, then the agreement may qualify to be modified.

    Common Reasons for Modification of Child Custody in Texas

    There are many reasons why a parent may want to re-evaluate their child custody agreement.  This includes:

    • One or both parents relocating to a further city/state
    • The parent ignores or doesn’t respect the visitation schedule
    • A parent’s situation has changed 
    • The child’s needs have changed
    • The child (must be 12 years or older) wants to change custody order 
    • The child is in danger in their current living situation

    How to File a Modification of Custody

    In order to modify your child support, you need to submit a formal request.  Here are the steps that you should follow.

    • Step 1: File a Petition
      In order to legally modify custody agreements, you have to file a petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship.  This must be filed with the same court that issued the current agreement.  Your lawyer will help you understand which child custody modification forms are required. 
    • Step 2: Wait for a Response From the Other Parent
      When you file the modification, the other parent will be notified.  If they agree, they must sign a document stating that they agree to the changes.  The court will then review the request and consider if it’s in the best interest of the child.  If they disagree, they’ll either ignore it or object to it by filing a response. 
    • Step 3: Schedule a Hearing
      If the respondent doesn’t agree with the petition, they must file a response.  Once this is done, a hearing will be scheduled to hear testimonies from both parties.  If the respondent does not file a response in a certain amount of time, a hearing will still take place, only without the respondent.  During these hearings, the judge will decide whether the modification should be denied or approved.

    If you want to modify your custody agreement, then you should have an experienced lawyer by your side.  By hiring a custody modification lawyer, you’ll be better represented in the case that the respondent disagrees with the modification.

    FAQ About Child Custody in Texas 

    1. What are the grounds for custody modification?
      The main reasons that child custody can be modified is if there have been substantial changes in circumstances (moving, financial changes, etc.), the child (12 years or older) expresses their preference to change the custody order, or the child is not living in good living conditions. 
    2. How to win a custody modification case?
      The judge will favor the side that has the best interest for the child.  This means you should exercise fair judgment, and also hire a lawyer to help you properly file for custody modifications. 
    3. How much does a custody modification cost?
      There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this.  If both parents agree, the costs will be low.  If they don’t, custody evaluations may have to take place, which can include tests, interviews, and professional evaluations.  To get a better estimate, talk with your lawyer.

     

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