When the court issues its final orders, it expects them to be just that: final. However, courts do recognize that in the case of child custody, there may be a change in circumstances that will require a modification in the custody arrangement. Petitions for modification must be filed in the court that made the original custody orders unless the child has moved. At Springer & Lyle, we are committed to assisting you when you need to request a custody modification.
Parents Agree to a Modification
If the parents agree between themselves to a modification of the custody order, it is important that they file a petition for modification with the court. The petition should present the reason for the modification and attach their signed agreement to the petition. The Court will generally approve the modification as long as it is in the best interest of the children.
The Parent Requesting the Modification Petitions the Court
The parent who wants a modification must file a petition with the court and explain why there is a material and substantial change in circumstances such that a modification is in the best interest of the children.
Some reasons a parent may need a modification include:
- The parent is moving out of the area and will need a modification of the visitation schedule. (Visitation in Texas is referred to as possession.) The moving parent will generally need to explain to the court why he or she is moving far enough away that a modification is requested.
- The custodial parent has developed a health issue.
- One parent alleges the other has a substance abuse problem.
- One parent has had a change in their job or work schedule.
- A child aged 12 or over has requested a modification in custody.
If the other parent does not object, and the court believes the modification is in the best interest of the children, the request will likely be granted.
When One Parent Objects to the Modification Requested by the Other Parent
If one parent objects to the modification of the other parent, the court will hold a hearing. Both parents will be able to present evidence such as witness testimony as to why or why not the modification should be granted.
The parent wanting modification has the burden of proving:
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances that effects the welfare of the children.
- The modification is in the best interest of the children.