The need for child custody modification may manifest itself when your family situation or financial position has significantly changed, or you want to relocate out of state with your child. Given the stakes involved, it is best to have an Austin child custody attorney represent your case for modification before the court.
When Can a Child Custody Order be Modified?
Family law in Austin only allows for limited circumstances in which you or the other parent may be granted a child custody modification. The court will make such a change if it determines that it serves the child’s best interests, and:
- The parent and/or the child’s circumstances have changed in a material and substantial way since the original child custody agreement
- The child is 12 years of age or older, and has informed the court that he or she wants a change
- The child’s care and custody has been voluntarily given to another individual by the custodial parent
Change of Circumstances
The family law court in Texas may recognize certain situations where the circumstances for the parent or the child have changed materially and substantially, qualifying it for child custody modification.
Examples would include the remarriage of a parent, change in health condition that restricts the parent’s ability to work, a criminal act or conviction of a parent, or a change of residence of a parent. If you are seeking child custody modification, make sure you select a skilled family law attorney in Austin to obtain a favorable outcome.
Preference Shown by the Child
If the child is aged at least 12 years, the judge will interview him or her in their chambers as part of the proceeding to determine parental rights. In some cases, a child younger than 12 may also be interviewed.
However, even if a child expresses a preference regarding child custody modification, it is not the last word. The court in Texas may order a modification only if it determines that the requested change will be in the best interests of the child.
Relinquishing Child Custody
A child custody order modification may also be done if the custodial parent chooses to give up the custody and care of the child to another individual for six months or more. This provision will, however, not be applicable if the custodial parent relinquished the custody and care only for a temporary period, such as during a period of duty, mobilization, or military deployment.
Timing of the Motion
If the motion for child custody order modification is filed within a year of the order, the requesting parent will have to submit an affidavit to the court that includes at least one of these contentions backed by facts:
- The child’s physical or emotional health is at risk in his or her current environment
- The modification is sought by the custodial parent while contending that it would in the best interests of the child
- Voluntary relinquishment of the child’s custody has been done by the custodial parent, and the modification would be in the best interests of the child
Choose a Passionate Austin Child Modification Attorney
Working with the right family law firm will enable you to access experience and knowledge that is essential during an Austin divorce. With more than 35 years in the practice of divorce and family law, the Law Office of Willie & Dasher has the capability and resources to help you achieve your goals.