Child Custody

How to Modify a Child Custody Order in Texas

If your current co-parenting arrangement has become untenable or you need to make changes to your child custody schedule, you have to file for a child custody order modification with the court.

Depending on how you want to modify your custody order, it can be a long process. We're here to help by giving you all the information you need to modify your child custody arrangement in Texas.

Do I Need a Judge to Change My Custody Order?

Yes. If you stop complying with your current custody order, you can (and probably will) face legal penalties. You must file a modification case with the court that issued the original custody order to change the terms of your custody arrangement.

What Should I Know About Filing for Custody Modification?

You can file a modification case if you:

  • Are listed as the child's parent in the current custody order, and
  • have had care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months before filing.

If you wish, you can even file for a modification case by yourself. However, having a family lawyer at your side throughout the process is advised, especially if your co-parent opposes the custody order modification.

If you and your co-parent agree on modifications, you can both jointly sign a new custody order and finish the process in as little as a few days. However, if either party disagrees with modifying the current custody order, the case becomes contested.

Contested modification cases typically take much longer (and are much more costly) to resolve. In a contested modification case, both parties present evidence supporting their case for or against the order modification.

If you believe that your child is in immediate danger of being harmed by their other parent or is being abused, you should contact Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) and file for an emergency modification instead of a standard modification order.

Most parents file a modification case citing a "material and substantial change in circumstances." For example, a recently unemployed parent might file a custody order asking to pay less child support due to their reduced finances. Alternatively, a parent might file a modification case asking for more custody time if they believe their co-parent is a bad influence on their child. The reasons for filing a modification case vary on a case-by-case basis.

At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, our experienced child custody lawyers can help you navigate the custody modification process.

To learn more or arrange a consultation with our firm, contact us online at (817) 497-8148.

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