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Modifying Child Custody after Divorce in Texas – The Basics

When a parent has decided that they would like to make a change to the custody arrangement, whether for reasons of a move, job change, or other event, it is that parent’s burden to prove to the court that changes in the custody agreement will benefit the child or children in question. When it comes to child support, the court generally follows the principle that if it isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it. This is primarily based upon the idea that the best thing for the child is stability, unless for some reason, you can prove that there is currently a harmful environment, and that the change is warranted for the best interest for that child. This is a process that can prove very difficult.

The parent that has decided that they would like to modify the child custody agreement following divorce will have to prove that the modified situation is a better fit for the child. Lateral moves in situation are not acceptable, as this will still change the minor’s daily life, and will disrupt stability. It must be possible to show a substantial positive change in circumstances that make this modification the best possible route for the court to take in order to safeguard the wellbeing of the child. If the two households are considered to be equal with one another, then custody is going to remain as it is until such a time that they are not considered equal.

When it comes to custody orders, it is important to understand that Pedente Lite, or temporary custody orders, are not the same as final orders. Moving from a temporary custody order to a permanent one does not require that there be a substantial change in the circumstances of the living situation.

When a child is 16 years old or older, he or she is legally allowed to seek out their own change in custody. However, in this situation it will be that minor’s burden to prove that it will be in their best interests to enact a change in custody agreements.

The court that was responsible for making the original visitation and custody order is going to retain jurisdiction when it comes to deciding on modifications. This is true unless neither parental parties or the child possess close ties to that court, in which case, the court may choose to surrender its jurisdiction. The court that has original jurisdiction may also refuse to try the case for custody in certain situations, such as when the child has been taken wrongfully from a different state, or has been taken without obtaining consent from the parent that is legally entitled to the custody.

There are a number of life changes that can qualify as a substantial alteration in the circumstances of the living situation, including geographic moves and changes in lifestyle for example. If the child’s stability of life is seriously disrupted in any way, then this is typically grounds for the custody order to be modified to ensure that the child’s best interests be considered.

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