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What does Texas law say about modifying custody orders?

Child custody laws in Texas prioritize what is best for children. Generally, the courts want to keep the schedule and lifestyle as consistent as possible for children. But in some cases, it may be best for a custody decree to change.

However, the circumstances that justify a custody modification are limited.

Legal standards for changing child support

 Under the Texas family code, there must be proof of a substantial and material change in circumstances affecting the child, parent or other individual involved with the order to change the order. Here are some situations that can warrant a modification:

  • Family violence
  • Child abuse
  • Military deployment
  • An increase or decrease in income
  • A change in the child’s health insurance
  • A change in the child’s living arrangements

The courts consider the unique details of each case when determining whether to change an order.

Uncontested modifications

 A modification by agreement is possible if both parents agree about the changes in custody and visitation and sign the modification forms. When this happens, no hearings or trials are necessary. Additionally, a modification may go through if the other parent does not answer or appear in court.

Contested modifications

 A parent may challenge the modification by filing a waiver of service or answer and refuses to sign the forms. Contested modifications must go through hearings. When hearings do not resolve the problems, they go to trial.

Frivolous suits

 Texas law prohibits filing a suit without basis or with the intention to harass the other parent. Someone who files a frivolous modification request may face attorney’s fees as penalties.

This information may help explain custody modification issues but does not constitute legal advice.