Child custody is usually one of the most contested issues during divorce. Even after the divorce is finalized and a child custody order issued, it is important to note that this decree can be modified. This can be through mutual consent or one parent’s petition to the court.
However, it is worth noting that the court will not grant your petition for child custody modification if you cannot provide valid reasons for your request. Reason? Most courts tend to favor existing custody agreements over making modifications – unless, of course, there are significant changes to circumstances that are likely to hurt the child’s best interests.
Here are three instances when a Texas court may be open to the idea of modifying an existing child custody order.
Change in parental circumstances
Courts understand that parents’ circumstances are bound to change over time. Change can be positive or negative. For instance, if a parent had problems with substance abuse but has since taken rehabilitation and parenting classes and has significantly changed their ways, then that parent may have reason to petition the court for custody modification so they can spend more time with their child. To successfully petition the court for custody modification on grounds of changed circumstances, you must convince the court that the change in question is quite substantial and, as such, likely to impact the child’s well-being in a notable way.
Physical relocation is another valid reason for custody modification. That said, it is important to understand that moving is never an automatic justification for custody modification unless either parent can prove the following:
- The relocation is likely to place a major burden on the non-custodial parent and make it impractical for them to maintain a healthy relationship with the child under the existing custody schedule.
- The relocation is likely to impact the child’s well-being in a positive or negative way.
Child custody is a living document that can be modified based on the prevailing circumstances. If you are contemplating custody modification, it is important that you find out if your reasons are valid.