A parent and other parties with custody in Texas may seek modification to a child custody order when it would be in the best interest of the child. A court, which issued the original custody or possession and access order, will consider three factors when ruling on a motion for modification.
First, the child circumstances must have materially and substantially changed since the custody order was first issued. This could also apply a change of circumstances concerning the party with custody, known as the conservator, or any other party affected by that order. These circumstances include factors, such as certain criminal convictions or drug abuse, that diminish the conservator’s ability to effectively parent
A second consideration is that a child, who is at least 12-years-old, made a written filing with the court. This filing contains the name of the person that the child prefer to decide exclusively where the child will live.
Or, the court may consider whether the conservator with exclusive right to decide where the child lives gave up primary care and child possession for at least six months. But, this does not apply to a conservator who temporarily gave up primary care and possession because of military mobilization, duty or deployment.
Modification of the custody order and court permission is also required if a parent wants permanent relocation outside of Texas or to a distant location within the state that would interfere with the other parent’s visitation schedule. As with other modification requests, the parent should demonstrate to the court that relocation is for the best interest of the child.
Brief out-of-state trips normally do not require a modification if the custody order does prohibit these visits. These trips, however, cannot interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights.
An attorney can help a parent or conservator changing the terms of a custody order or seek agreement modification. Legal representation can help assure that parent’s rights are protected in a child custody dispute and that orders are enforced.
Source: WomensLaw.org, “Custody,” accessed on Jan. 6, 2017