Parents in Texas who have established a child custody (conservatorship) order may find that for a while, things run smoothly. They are able to care for their child during their allotted custody or visitation periods, and child custody exchanges are made with little trouble.
However, as time marches on, parents may find that their lives have changed significantly since the original child custody order was made. Plans that once went off without a hitch have now become unfeasible. In situations like this, is it possible for parents to seek a modification of existing orders?
Per Texas statutes, parents in Texas can move the court for a child custody modification if such a change is in the child's best interests and one of several factors are met. One factor is a material and substantial change in the life of the child or a parent has occurred since the earlier of the date of the original court order or the date an out-of-court settlement was reached through mediation. Another factor is that the child, who is age 12 or above, has expressed in court a preference as to which parent the child wants to live with primarily. A third factor is if the parent with whom the child primarily lived with has voluntarily given up care and possession of the child to a third party for six months or more. However, with regard to the third factor, if the relinquishment of possession of the child was temporary due to a military deployment, this will not count.
As this shows, there are a number of grounds upon which a parent (or child, if of age) can seek to have a child custody order modified. To learn more about what might constitute a material and substantial change in the life of a child or parent or to learn more about the other grounds upon which modification may be sought, it may be beneficial to seek legal help.