If your current child custody arrangement is not working for you and/or your child, the stress can really add up. In Sugar Land, Texas, for example, even if the parents agree on a custody arrangement or modification on their own, the court still needs to review and approve it. Realistically, that means you’ll need a Sugar Land child custody lawyer one way or the other. The good news is that you’ll have someone on your side helping to reduce that child custody stress.
Grounds for Modifying a Texas Child Custody Agreement
Here in Texas, any of the following reasons for updating or adjusting a child custody agreement must be proven to a judge. The most important guideline a child custody judge considers is always what is in the best interest of the child. Having said that, to modify a Texas child custody order, one of the following must apply:
- There must be substantial changes to the circumstances of the child or her/his guardian
- The child’s main custodian (the person with whom she or he primarily resides) has allowed someone else to step in as the primary caretaker for a minimum of 6 months, with the exception of active-duty military deployment.
- The child has reached the age of 12 when they have the ability to tell the judge with whom they would like to reside (the minor is not required to state this information in open court).
What Constitutes a “Substantial” Change to the Child’s Circumstances?
Child custody attorneys like Jamie Jordan, PLLC, can provide information about how a judge might interpret this law. To give you a general idea, though, a local Sugar Land judge is most likely to consider these types of things to be “substantial changes” that serve as grounds for modifying a child custody arrangement:
- One parent goes to extra lengths to prevent the other parent from their rightful access to the child, such as deliberately not being home at pick-up time.
- If the child experiences a drastic drop in school performance.
- Years have passed since the original custody agreement was made, and parental involvement, finances, health, living environment, or similar “life circumstances” have changed.
- If one of the parents starts living with someone outside the scope of the custody agreement, especially if that person is, for example, an ex-con or drug addict.
- If one parent moves far away, such as from Sugar Land to the panhandle or out of Texas completely.
- The child’s parents reconcile.
- If either of the parents is arrested, particularly for any charge that would directly endanger the child (like domestic violence).
- If, for whatever reason, carrying out the original child custody order is no longer feasible (maybe one parent’s car was repossessed or she/he has been hospitalized in long-term care).
- If the child was too young for school at the time of the original custody agreement, a judge may consider starting school to be “substantial.”
To modify a Texas child custody court order, a modification case must be opened. You should always seek legal help with this process.
Get Help Modifying your Sugar Land Texas Child Custody Now
Jamie Jordan, PLLC, has extensive experience as a child custody attorney in Sugar Land, TX. Hiring an attorney can be daunting, so don’t hesitate to read our testimonials and see what our clients have to say about us. Find out exactly how we can help you through your Texas child custody situation by calling us at 281-466-3628 or filling out this contact form.