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 Do I Modify a Child Custody Order?

In the event that you or your child’s other parent need to modify a child custody order, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) dictates what you have to do. The state courts with the power to modify an original child custody are normally those that created the order in the first place. This is a concept in the UCCJEA known as exclusive continuing jurisdiction. The UCCJEA’s focus is on making interstate child custody disputes easier to handle throughout the country. The state with the most contact with the child usually has original jurisdiction, and under the UCCJEA, that state should continue to have jurisdiction unless there has been a major change.

There are two ways in which the state with original jurisdiction can lose its exclusive continuing jurisdiction:

  1. The parents and child no longer live in the state with original jurisdiction, or
  2. None of the parties has a significant connection with the state with original jurisdiction, meaning that there is no longer any substantial evidence related to the case in that state (for example, a non-custodial parent may still be in the original state, but the child’s new state may be in a better position to rule on child custody matters)

Thus, in order for a different state to be able to modify a child custody order, the state with original jurisdiction has to lose its exclusive continuing jurisdiction, and the new state has to have some connection with the case (see Tuesday’s post for how a state obtains original jurisdiction, as the same guidelines govern whether a state can obtain the power to modify a child custody order).

Has your child custody situation involved out-of-state moves? How did you go about obtaining a modification to your child custody order?

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

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