November 19, 2022  

Modifying Child Custody, Visitation, or Support Order

If you have a child custody, visitation, or support order in Texas, you may wonder if it is possible to modify the order. The answer is yes, but specific requirements must be met for the court to grant a modification. This article will discuss the process for modification, who can file, and the grounds for modification. We will also touch on how the court decides what is in the best interest of the child and some common challenges with modification cases.

Introduction

Parents in Texas can modify child custody, visitation, or support order if there is a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either parent or the child. To request a modification, one must file a petition with the court that issued the original order. The court will then consider whether there has been a material and substantial change since the original order was entered and whether modifying the order would be in the child's best interest. If both parents agree to seek a modification, they may be able to reach an agreement outside of court through mediation or collaboration.

Suppose a parent fails to file a petition requesting a modification of an order within 30 days after the order is entered. In that case, the court may enter an order modifying the original order without either parent being present. The court may modify any term in the original order, including custody, visitation, and support. In addition, if one of the parents requests that their parental rights be terminated, the court will terminate that parent's rights based on their failure to comply with orders.

What is the Process for Modification?

When a family moves, the process for modification starts with a petition to the court. First, parents must show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. The court will consider the child's best interests in making a decision which means that parents must provide information about their new location, lifestyle, and other relevant information. Additionally, parents must prove that moving is in the child's best interest.

If the court approves the petition, parents must file a modification application with the Department of Social Services. The Department will work with parents to devise a plan for modifying their child's residence. This may include moving the child to their new location, arranging visitation, or creating alternate living arrangements. Parents are generally required to follow the Department's recommendations unless they can show that doing so would be fundamentally unfair to their child.

Who can File for Modification?

A party to the original order, or a new spouse of a party to the order, can file for modification. The attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem for a party to the order can also file for modification. A conservator, other than a temporary conservator, of a party to the order can also file for modification. Finally, if the respondent is subject to detainment under Sections 54.02 or 54.03 of the Family Code, and modification is in the best interest of the child, then the youthful offender administrator can file for modification on behalf of that child as well.

To qualify for a modification, the party filing must have a good faith belief that the order is no longer in their best interest. The court must also find clear and convincing evidence that modification is necessary to meet the child's needs. If either party fails to comply with a court order, the other can file a motion for contempt or seek appropriate sanctions.

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“A court may modify child support, custody, and visitation orders if there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child or a party."

What are the Grounds for Modification?

When it comes to child support, custody, and visitation orders, a court may modify these orders if there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child or a party. In order to make this determination, the court will consider all relevant factors, including the physical health and emotional development of the child; the needs of the child; the financial resources and earning ability of each parent; any educational opportunities that are available to the child; and any other factor that relates to the welfare of the child.

There are a few things that courts will take into account when considering whether or not to modify an order:

  1. The court may consider any changes in the child's circumstances since the order was made, such as a change in address, employment status, or marital status.
  2. The court may also look at changes outside of the child's control, such as a serious illness or death in the family.
  3. If one of the parents has been unable to comply with an order for child support, custody, or visitation without good cause shown by that parent, then the court may find that good cause exists to modify the order.

How Does the Court Decide What is in the Child's Best Interest?

Regarding child custody, the court is tasked with deciding what is in the child's best interest. This decision can be difficult, as several factors must be considered. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The physical health and emotional development of the child.

  • The circumstances of the parents.

  • The child's relationship with siblings and grandparents.

  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community life.

The court will also consider any prior custody arrangements the child has had and any agreements made between the parents. If there is an agreement between the parents, it is usually given more weight than a decision made by the court. However, if one party does not follow their agreement, the court may still decide in favor of the child.

How Do I Modify my Child Custody or Visitation Order?

If you are a parent and want to modify your child's custody or visitation order, you must take a few steps. The first step is to file a Motion to Modify with the court. After filing this motion, both parents must attend a hearing, where the judge will decide whether to modify the original order. The new order will be implemented if the judge decides that modification is in the child's best interests.

If you are unsure how to file a Motion to Modify or have any questions about the process, you can contact a local family law attorney. An attorney can help you understand what needs to be done and guide you through the entire process.

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“Parents may have difficulty changing custody even if they believe it is in their child's best interest."

What are Some Common Challenges with Modification Cases?

There are challenges that parents face when requesting modifications to their children's custody arrangements. The burden of proof is usually on the person requesting the modification, and the other parent may oppose it. There may also be changes in circumstances, such as the loss of a job or income. Additionally, the child's needs may have changed since the original order was made.

One common challenge that parents face when requesting modifications to their children's custody arrangements is the burden of proof. The parent requesting the modification usually has to prove that there has been a change in circumstances, such as a loss of income or job. The other parent may oppose the requested modification and use any possible excuse. Additionally, courts are often hesitant to change custody arrangements without good reason. This means that parents may have difficulty changing custody even if they believe it is in their child's best interest.

In Conclusion

Modifying a child custody, visitation, or support order can be difficult. However, it is possible to modify an order if there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either parent or the child. If you are considering seeking a modification, it is important to speak with an attorney who can help you understand the process and guide you through the legal challenges you may face.

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AILEEN LIGOT DIZON

Aileen is an experienced Texas Divorce Attorney. She is a Houston-based divorce attorney who has been helping couples through the process. After seeing too many couples fighting and not knowing where to turn, she decided to create this Texas divorce blog site.