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Modifying a Custody Agreement

Posted on in Child Custody

Texas child custody attorney, Texas family law attorneyThe primary concern of family court judges when creating a custody agreement is that the arrangement be in the child’s best interest. In some cases, this requires courts to modify an existing custody agreement due to changed circumstances. Establishing that a modification is in the best interest of a child can be difficult, so if you live in Texas and believe that a modification of your custody arrangement is necessary, it is vital to speak with an experienced child custody attorney who can explain your legal options.

Requirements

Either parent can petition the court for the modification of an existing custody arrangement as long as they can provide evidence that modification would be in the best interest of the child and:

  • The circumstances of the child, a parent, or another party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed;
  • The child is 12 years of age or older and has expressed to the judge that he or she wishes to reside primarily with one parent or in one residence; or
  • The parent with primary conservatorship has voluntarily given up possession of the child to someone else for at least six months.

In most situations, parents base their petition for modification on a claim of substantially and materially changed circumstances. Texas family courts have recognized a number of scenarios that satisfy this requirement, including that:

  • One of the parties suffered a medical condition that affects his or her ability to function, work, or care for the child;
  • One of the parents relocated without notifying the other parent, making visitation unduly difficult;
  • One of the parties committed an act of family violence;
  • One of the parents has experienced a major change in his or her financial situation;
  • The costs of raising the child have significantly increased due to his or her age; and
  • The child has become ill or disabled and requires special care.

Best Interest of the Child Factors

While there is no set list of situations that satisfy the changed circumstances requirement, courts are directed to make decisions based on whether the modification would be in the child’s best interest. This requires an evaluation of:

  • The desires of the child;
  • The stability of the child’s primary residence;
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child;
  • The parental abilities of both parties;
  • Whether emotional or physical danger to the child exists; and
  • Each party’s plans for the child.

As a child grows, his or her needs will change. Courts recognize this and so are willing to modify existing child custody agreements to reflect the child’s best interest. If you are considering relocating with your child, have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or have undergone another type of substantial change in circumstances, it is important to obtain the advice of an attorney who can help protect the interests of both you and your child. If you believe that a modification of an existing custody agreement is necessary, please contact an aggressive Round Rock family law attorney at The Law Offices of William D. Powers at 512-610-6199 to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody attorney.

Source:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.156.htm

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