MODIFYING A CHILD CUSTODY/SUPPORT ORDER
Custody — or conservatorship — regarding a child in Texas can always by modified until the child turns 18. Once a court order has been entered regarding custody or conservatorship, a parent must prove that there has been a “material and substantial change of circumstances” regarding one of the parents or children that requires modification of the court order. And, the new order sought must be in the best interest of the child.
A modification begins with the filing of a petition to modify the prior order. A modification proceeding generally follows the process for any other suit, including service of process, time to answer, and right to trial if an agreement cannot be reached.
The most common modification of custody or conservatorship orders involves a modification of child support. The “material change” may be the obligor parent getting a raise or better paying job, requiring an increase. Or, the obligor parent losing his or her job, requiring a decrease in the amount of child support. Other reasons to modify a conservatorship order in Texas may be to adjust the periods of each parent’s possession with the child to accommodate a changed work schedule or the child’s schedule. Sometimes one parent wishes to change the right to establish the primary residence of the child from one parent to the other.