When a couple with children divorces or separates, one of the most challenging issues to address is child custody. The custody order is typically included in the final divorce decree, and it outlines the legal and physical custody arrangements for the children. However, circumstances can change, and it may become necessary to modify the custody order. In Texas, certain individuals may file for modification of a custody order.
Substantial Change in Circumstances Required
To begin with, it’s worth noting that a custody order can only be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This could include a parent’s relocation, a change in the child’s needs, or evidence of neglect or abuse. It’s not enough to simply want to change the custody arrangement – there must be a legitimate reason for doing so.
Who Can File for Modification?
Assuming there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the following individuals can file for modification of a custody order in Texas:
- A parent: Either parent can file for modification of a custody order, regardless of whether they have primary or joint custody.
- A non-parent: In some cases, a non-parent (such as a grandparent or other relative) may have standing to file for modification of a custody order. This could occur if the non-parent has been serving as the primary caregiver for the child and there has been a substantial change in circumstances that makes a modification necessary.
- The child: In some cases, depending on their age and maturity level, the child may be able to request a modification of the custody order. The court will take the child’s wishes into account when making a decision, but the child does not have the final say.
It’s worth noting that if the parent seeking modification has been convicted of certain crimes (such as domestic violence), the court may presume that it’s not in the child’s best interest to award them custody. Additionally, if one parent is seeking to modify the custody order in order to move the child out of state, they will need to show that the move is in the child’s best interest.
Contact The Blacknall Firm for Representation
If you are considering filing for modification of a custody order in Texas, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process. The Blacknall Firm has a team of skilled attorneys who are dedicated to helping clients navigate the complexities of family law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you with your case.