Yes – you can seek to modify the child custody (possession) portion of your final decree of divorce after your divorce.
This article provides information on common situations in which a parent may seek to modify their child’s possession schedule as well as the legal requirements to successfully get a modification.
A court may modify a prior order more than once. This means that a parent may also seek to modify a prior modification order as well.
Why Parents Seek Modifications
There are almost limitless reasons a parent may seek to modify the possession schedule for their children that in their final decree of divorce.
Modifications are common after divorce if parents divorce when their children are young because a lot can change in 18 years for both parents and children.
Some common reasons a parent might seek to change their child custody order include:
- a change in a parent’s work or work schedule;
- a change in the child’s schedule;
- the other parent no longer participate’s in the child’s life;
- the child’s health or safety is at risk;
- there is a change in the environment the child lives in while in either parent’s possession; or
- a parent is moving for work or other reasons.
Legal Grounds For Modifying Child Custody
In Texas, there are three different grounds by which a parent can seek to modify their child possession order.
The first is if the circumstances of the child or a parent have materially and substantially changed since the final decree of divorce or a prior modification order was signed.
The second ground is if the child is at least 12 years of age and expresses to the court that the child prefers that a different parent have the exclusive right to determine the child’s residence.
The third ground is if the parent who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child in the prior order has relinquished primary care and possession of the child for at least six months.
No matter which ground a parent seeks to modify the possession order under, the parent seeking modification must also show to the court that the modification sought is in the best interest of the child.
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