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How do you modify a child custody order in Texas?


Sometimes, especially after a divorce, a person's life can change dramatically. Parents in Texas with child custody orders might find that these orders work well for a while, but, as time marches on, the original order may no longer suit the actualities of the parent's and child's lives.

Either parent with child custody rights has the ability to seek to modify an existing child custody order. In Texas, such requests will be processed by the court where the parents obtained their divorce. The exception to this is if the child has resided for six months or more in another Texas county.

If a child of parents who obtained their divorce in Texas has resided for six months or more in a state other than Texas, then a child custody modification motion will be heard in a court in the state where the child resides. Per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, this is also the rule that will be followed if the child's parents obtained a divorce in a state other than Texas, and the child has resided in Texas for under six months. That being said, if a claim only involves issues regarding visitation or child support, then that claim will stay in the court the divorce was originally granted in, so long as one parent still resides in that area (even if the child no longer does.)

In order to prevail in modifying a child custody order, the parent wishing to modify the existing child custody order must be able to prove one of three things. One is that their circumstances or their child's circumstance have undergone a substantial change that did not exist when the child custody order was initially granted. Or, the parent must be seeking a modification because part of the original order has become either inappropriate or unworkable. Or, one of the child's parents must have relocated without providing the child's other parent at least 60 days' notice of the relocation.

This is only a brief overview of modifying a child custody order in Texas. Since this post cannot serve as legal advice, those in Texas who want to modify a child custody order may want to consult with an attorney, so they can proceed appropriately.

Source: FindLaw, "Texas Child Support and Custody Modification," Accessed Oct. 16, 2017

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