Can I Get My Child Custody Arrangement Modified?
The only thing we can be certain of in life is that there will be change. Some changes will be for the better, while others will come with varying degrees of difficulty and challenges.
If a change in life circumstances necessitates your seeking a change in a court-sanctioned child custody arrangement, it is important to understand how the law in Texas addresses modification of custody.
Generally speaking, the person seeking a modification in child custody in Texas is going to have to show that at least one of the following has occurred since the original order was entered:
- The circumstances of the child or parent has materially or substantially changed,
- The child, who is at least 12 years old, wants the change, or
- The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months.
What Constitutes a Material or Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Precisely what constitutes a material or substantial change in circumstances depends on the facts of each case. Examples where Texas courts have ruled that circumstances warranted a modification of custody include:
- Parental relocation affected the child’s relationship with the other parent.
- The parent’s financial circumstances have changed and affect his or her ability to properly care for the child.
- Parental illness affected the parent’s ability to care for the child.
- Parental remarriage negatively affected the family relationships of the child.
Of course these cases may or may not be similar to your current situation. A Dallas child custody attorney can help you examine the facts of your case in light of Texas court decisions.
When Can a Child Request a Change in Custody or Visitation?
Children who are at least 12 years old have a say about which parent they want to live with. Children are interviewed in the judge’s private chambers and are allowed to explain why they want a change in custody or visitation.
While the court will listen to the child and weigh his or her concerns, the decision is ultimately decided based on the court’s assessment of what is in the child’s best interest. The final decision will not necessarily comport with the child’s request.
What Constitutes Voluntary Relinquishment of Custody?
Voluntary relinquishment of custody is considered, in most instances, to have occurred if the custodial parent has voluntarily given up the care and custody of the child to another person for at least six months. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as is the case where the custodial parent temporarily relinquished the care of the child during military deployment, mobilization or duty.
A Dallas Child Custody Attorney Can Help You With Custody Modification
There are, of course, many other aspects of child custody modification to take into account before determining the proper course of action, such as the timing of the request and who the conservators are.
An experienced Dallas child custody attorney can help you decide the best course of action in your situation. Please contact us online or call our offices at 214-977-9050 to make an appointment for a consultation.