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Am I Entitled To Modify My Last Custody Order?
Perhaps, abuse, drug use, alcohol abuse, or neglect has occurred since the date of the last order. These recent developments may warrant modifying the child custody arrangement that currently exists. There are certain standards that must first be met when someone wants to modify a child custody arrangement after a divorce is final. The most common standard the courts will look at is whether the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or another party affected by the last child custody order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the last order.
Pursuant to Texas Family Code section 156, other factors that may warrant a change in custody include that the new order is necessary because (1) the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development; (2) the person designated in the final order has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child for more than six months and the temporary order is in the best interest of the child; or (3) the child is 12 years of age or older and has expressed to the court in chambers the name of the person who is the child’s preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child.
Of course, all these different factors ultimately depend on whether the modification is in the child’s best interest. If the current child custody arrangement is not working or is not in the child’s best interest, then a modification of that order may very well be appropriate. Having a battle-tested, experienced family law attorney is most beneficial when attempting to modify a child custody order. Child custody modifications can be very adversarial as well as highly emotional. Having the cool, steady leadership of an experienced family law attorney is paramount in obtaining optimal results. It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney and explore the various options that are best suited for your situation.