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When is it time to modify custody agreements?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2021 | Child Custody And Child Protection Matters

Things change, and so can your child’s custody order. In Texas, you cannot modify the order just because you don’t want your child to see your ex anymore or because they are not getting good grades in school. The court will only grant a custody modification under specific circumstances and if the change is in the child’s best interests.

Modifying the order

Your child’s custody order does not have to stay the same forever. Some changes in your life may make the current order impossible to comply with, which is why you have the right to ask the court to modify it. The Texas Family Code states that a court can permit a modification of the custody order if it’s in the child’s best interests and:

  • The parents agree to change the order
  • The circumstances of the child or parent have materially and substantially changed since the date of the rendition of the order
  • The child is at least 12 years old and has expressed their preference to live with one of the parents
  • The primary custodian of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to someone else for at least 6 months

You must note that if you want to change your child’s primary residence, you can only do this after a year of the date of the rendition of the order. For this, you’ll need to file the modification order with an affidavit that supports the change. The affidavit must support your need for the change and explain that the child’s present environment may endanger their health or emotional development. The affidavit will also be valid if it explains that the primary custodian also wants the change or relinquished the child’s primary care for at least six months.

Material and substantial changes

You can change the order if your child’s circumstances have materially and substantially changed since the date of the rendition of the order. But what does the law mean by material and substantial changes? Some examples of these changes are:

  • A child abuse conviction
  • A family violence conviction
  • A change of residence that results in increased expenses for one of the parties
  • A parent dies
  • A parent tries to harm the relationship between the child and the other parent
  • A parent remarries

The court will consider the child’s wishes to make the change. They will also take into account their physical and emotional needs.

Filling the petition

To change the existing custody order, you’ll have to file a Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. An experienced lawyer can help you with the process and determine if your case qualifies for a modification. You want to protect your child, and if the current order is harming them in any way, you have the right to modify it.