Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

How to Modify a Child Custody Order

When circumstances involving children with divorced parents change, one or both of the parents may find it necessary to make a request to modify a child custody order. These requests are necessary when a major change occurs (for example, a death in the family or substance abuse problems). Voluntary preferences of an older child or the parent with custody can also lead to a child custody modification.

Before even thinking about requesting a change in the child custody order, the first order of business is to determine what court has jurisdiction. If no parties have moved, the court with jurisdiction will likely be the one that made the original child custody order. However, if the child has been in another county in Texas or another state for more than six months, a different court will only have the power to modify a child custody order. We recently discussed the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”). This child custody law will determine what court has jurisdiction and whether a court in Texas will have any power to modify a child custody order at all.

Once you know what court has jurisdiction over the child custody order, you will have to show one of several grounds for modifying the order. These grounds include the following:

  • The modification is in the best interests of the child (for instance, the child is able to stay at the same school around his lifelong friends)
  • Material and substantial changes involving the child or a parent (if one parent loses a job and can no longer maintain custody of a child, this would be such a situation)
  • A child older than 12 can file a written notice of his or her preference for the court to take into consideration

Have you had to modify an original child support order? What were the reasons for the change?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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