What To Do When Your Custody Order Stops Working

Woman Hugging her SonIf you have a crystal ball, be sure to bring it with you when you negotiate the child custody provisions in your Texas divorce decree or visitation order. That way, you’ll see the future and make sure your divorce decree covers every contingency between now and the time your child walks out the door as an adult.

If you’re like the rest of us and don’t have the proverbial crystal ball, chances are you’ll need to modify your divorce decree when circumstances change with the help of a Dallas divorce attorney. In Texas, a family law court retains jurisdiction to modify the custody provisions of an order until the child reaches adulthood.

A “Petition to Modify” is filed in the same court that issued the original child custody order. To be successful, you and your Dallas divorce attorney must show there has been a “material and substantial change of circumstances” since the original order was signed, and you must show the proposed modification is in the best interest of the child.

A modification of a Texas child custody suit is not a second bite at the apple. In other words, the court will hear only evidence of events occurring after the entry of the divorce decree. You cannot “re-litigate” issues raised in your divorce.

Why do Texas child custody orders get modified? Here are some examples:

  • Relocation of a parent;
  • Change in relationship status;
  • Change in work schedules;
  • Choice of a new primary conservator by a child 12 or older;
  • Improper behavior by a parent such as drug or alcohol abuse; or
  • Change in the educational needs of the child.

Will the court grant your modification request? To find out, consult an experienced family law attorney for advice you can trust. At Schreier & Housewirth Family Law, we’ve spent 25 years in Dallas County family law court and Tarrant County family law court. We know what works. Count on our experience and reputation when it’s time for you to decide if a modification makes sense for you and your family.