If you have a child custody agreement that no longer meets your family’s needs, you can ask for a modification in Texas. The process varies based on whether both parents agree to the proposed changes.
Review these considerations when you want to modify a joint parenting plan in Texas.
Uncontested vs. contested modification
When your child’s other parent agrees with your proposed changes, you can both sign the forms and submit them to court. If he or she will not sign the agreement, you must file a petition with the court. The other parent will receive notice of this petition and the court will schedule a hearing with at least 45 days’ notice.
Someone other than the child’s parent, such as a grandparent, can request custody modification if he or she appears on the original custody order.
The legal standard for modification
At the custody hearing, you must show that your proposed modification serves the child’s best interest. In addition, you must prove one or more of the following circumstances:
- Someone other than the person who has primary custody has been the child’s caregiver for at least six months, except in cases of military deployment
- The child is age 12 or older and expresses a preference for a change in custody to the court.
- Family circumstances have significantly changed since the original custody order, such as a remarriage, career change, relocation or chronic health condition.
If the court agrees that a modification is in the child’s best interest, the judge will enter a new legally binding custody order. Otherwise, the existing custody order remains in effect.