Generally speaking, the person seeking a modification in child custody in Texas is going to have to show that at least one of the following has occurred since the original order was entered:
• The circumstances of the child or parent has materially or substantially changed,
• The child, who is at least 12 years old, wants the change, or
• The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months.
What Constitutes a Material or Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Examples where Texas courts have ruled that circumstances warranted a modification of custody include:
• Parental relocation affected the child’s relationship with the other parent.
• The parent’s financial circumstances have changed and affect his or her ability to properly care for the child.
• Parental illness affected the parent’s ability to care for the child.
• Parental remarriage negatively affected the family relationships of the child.
When Can a Child Request a Change in Custody or Visitation?
Children who are at least 12 years old have a say about which parent they want to live with. Children are interviewed in the judge’s private chambers and are allowed to explain why they want a change in custody or visitation.
While the court will listen to the child and weigh his or her concerns, the decision is ultimately decided based on the court’s assessment of what is in the child’s best interest.