Once the court signs your final child custody order, this order is legally binding and must be adhered to by both parents. However, certain life-changing events may warrant a change to the original order. If you find that your original child custody agreement is no longer in your child’s best interest, you may file for a modification of the order. The process for modification will depend on whether the changes are contested or uncontested by the other parent.
What circumstances warrant modification of a child custody order?
Under Section 156.101(a)(1) of the Texas Family Code, the court may grant a modification if there has been a ‘material and substantial change in circumstances’ since the original order was signed and if the modification will serve the best interests of the child. The court may grant a modification for:
- Remarriage of parent
- Abuse or neglect of the child
- Change in child’s home environment
- Parent is no longer able to care for the child
If both parents agree on the modification to be made, you can file an uncontested petition to modify the agreement. However, if only one parent seeks the modification, that parent will have to file the request for modification. Generally, you will have to wait one year from the date of the original ruling to file for a modification, unless the current conditions could endanger the child’s physical or emotional wellbeing.
It is important to note that if you file for a modification of child custody, you run the risk of losing the specific provisions that were approved in the original agreement, particularly if your ex is now making new requests. As a result, you may end up with an agreement you are even less happy with. A family law attorney can review your modification case and help you decide if this is a risk worth taking.