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When Can I Request a Child Custody Order Modification in Texas? 

Posted on in Family Law

Galveston County Child Custody LawyerWhen parents of minor children in Texas create a child custody order or parenting plan, they agree to abide by the terms of the parenting plan under threat of court sanctions. This helps keep the children’s lives predictable and ensures parents do not experience unnecessary conflict over ever-changing schedules. But when a parent moves, gets a new job, or otherwise has a significant change in circumstances, an existing custody order may no longer be workable. Although Texas courts are wary of changing child custody orders frequently, especially if it appears a parent may be requesting a change to harass the other parent, there are certainly times when such a change is justifiable. 

Do We Need to Go to Court to Change Our Custody Order? 

If the changes to your custody arrangement are minor and you get along well with your child’s other parent, you may be able to agree to make adjustments without going to court. However, any agreement you come to is not enforceable and, if your child’s other parent is manipulative or abusive, an agreement outside of court may expose you to the risk of conflict. If you and the other parent cannot agree, you must both follow the existing order until it is successfully modified. 

Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

A petition to change a custody order is called a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, or SAPCR. An SAPCR must be filed in the court where your divorce or custody order was originally granted unless the child has moved. If you agree with the other parent about changes to the custody order, the petition can be completed as soon as the court approves it. 

However, if you do not agree, you will both need to appear before a judge and argue that your proposed modification is justified and would be in the child's best interests. When considering whether a change would be in the child’s best interests, judges will consider many factors, including: 

  • The child’s preferences, if age appropriate

  • The child’s relationship with each parent

  • The child’s integration and comfort in his school and community

  • The material circumstances of the parents 

  • The parents’ marital status

  • Whether a parental relocation is necessary 

  • Whether abuse or neglect has occurred or is ongoing

An attorney can help you gather evidence and construct a strong argument that your proposed modification is in your child’s best interests. 

Contact a Galveston County Child Custody Attorney

Life brings frequent changes, especially with young children. If your parenting plan is no longer working for you and your family, consider getting the help of an experienced Galveston child custody modification lawyer with Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C.. We can help you explore your options in a free consultation and determine how to approach the modification process in a way that puts your children’s needs first. Call us today at 409-392-1511



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