Modifications of Custody

ames Meyrat is an experienced family law attorney who understands exactly how to use Texas law to help you craft a child custody modifications that best fits your needs. If you have any questions about child custody modifications in Texas, contact experienced San Antonio family law attorney James Meyrat today at 210-733-6235

Life circumstances of both parents and children are subject to change over time. Custody orders get stale and start losing their utility to handle a new set of family circumstances. The state of Texas recognizes this fact and allows for modifications of any child custody orders.

If you are considering a modification to a child custody or visitation order, San Antonio divorce lawyer James Meyrat can help you determine whether a possible child custody modification is likely to prevail in court. James Meyrat can also advise parents  whether you will be able to stop an opposing custody modification.

What Does the Court Look For in a Request for Modification?

You need to show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the last order of the Court or agreement of the parties and that the requested modification is in the child’s best interest.

When Can A Child Custody Order Be Modified on a Temporary Basis?

Under Texas law, a child custody or visitation order can be modified during the temporary phase of a proceeding only if the situation meets certain criteria. First, changes to the custody order must always be in the best interest of the child, and one of three factors must be present

The life circumstances of the child or the parent have materially and substantially changed;
The child is at least twelve years of age and wants a modification; or
A parent with custody gives up possession of the child.

What is “Material and Substantial Change”?

Texas family courts have found several situations that qualify as a material and substantial change for the purposes of modifying a child custody order. The most common examples include:

The remarriage of one of the parents;
A serious medical issue that adversely affects a parent;
A parent’s criminal conviction;
A parent’s abuse and neglect of child;
A change in location that makes visitation a hardship.

The list can go on. Do all of these merit the label of a material and substantial change? Maybe. Can you present evidence of more than one change in circumstances to make them cumulative? Yes, and often that’s exactly what should be done. That’s part of the strategy of litigation

The Child’s Preference

Texas courts repeatedly make it clear that the best interest of the child is the most important guiding factor in any decisions affecting the parent-child relationship. In accordance with that goal, Courts must interview a child, if a party requests it, once that child reaches the age of twelve. The child’s wishes are not binding on the Court, but often a Judge will take those wishes into consideration.

A Parent Relinquishes Possession

If a parent voluntarily gives up custody and care of the child, the Court will likely accept that as the basis for modifying a child custody or visitation order on a temporary basis.