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Modification Of Texas Custody Orders

  • Published: April 3, 2023
Modification Of Texas Custody Orders


Section 156 of the Texas Family Code is dedicated to Texas Custody Orders and establishes the necessary criteria for modifying a conservatorship order within the state. This provision holds great significance for parents who intend to pursue modifications, as it precisely outlines the legal standards and procedures that must be followed.

In the following blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of section 156, delve into relevant case law examples, and conclude by emphasizing the crucial importance of adhering to the requirements outlined in this statute.

In Texas, a custody order can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was initially issued. Some examples of significant changes in circumstances that may warrant a modification of custody orders in Texas include:

  1. Relocation: If one of the parents is planning to move to a different city or state, it can be a significant change in circumstances that may require a modification of the custody order.
  2. Child’s preference: If the child is old enough to express their preference about which parent they want to live with, the court may consider their wishes when making a custody modification.
  3. Safety concerns: If there are concerns about the safety or well-being of the child in one parent’s care, such as abuse or neglect, a modification may be necessary to protect the child.
  4. Parent’s ability to provide care: If one parent’s ability to provide care has significantly changed since the custody order was issued, such as a parent developing a substance abuse problem, it may be grounds for modification.

It is important to note that the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child when considering a custody modification. If you believe there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a modification of your custody order, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in Texas to discuss your options.

Overview Of Section 156

Section 156 states that a court may modify an order that provides for the appointment of a conservator if the modification would be in the child’s best interests and one of the following conditions is met:

  1. The circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order’s rendition or signing;
  2. The child is at least 12 years old 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; or
  3. The conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child for at least six months.

In addition to the above requirements, section 156 also sets out various procedures that must be followed when seeking a modification of a conservatorship order. For example, a party seeking a modification must file a petition in the court that rendered the order, provide notice to the other parties, and attend a hearing.

Relevant Case Law

The Texas courts have addressed section 156 in a number of cases. For example, in the case of In re J.J.T., 951 S.W.2d 384 (Tex. App. 1997), the court held that the trial court had properly modified the conservatorship order based on the best interests of the child. In that case, the father had argued that the mother’s relocation to another state was a material and substantial change in circumstances that justified the modification. The court agreed, finding that the relocation would have a significant impact on the child’s relationship with the father.

Similarly, in the case of In re D.T.P., 275 S.W.3d 464 (Tex. App. 2008), the court found that the father had met his burden of proving that a material and substantial change in circumstances had occurred since the rendition of the prior order. In that case, the father argued that the mother’s mental health issues and substance abuse problems had become significantly worse since the prior order, and that the child’s best interests would be served by granting him sole managing conservatorship.

In contrast, in the case of In re B.G., 317 S.W.3d 862 (Tex. App. 2010), the court held that the mother had failed to meet her burden of proving a material and substantial change in circumstances. In that case, the mother had argued that the father’s remarriage and subsequent move to another state constituted a material and substantial change in circumstances. However, the court found that the mother had not presented any evidence to support her claim, and that the child’s best interests were better served by maintaining the prior order.


Section 156 of the Texas Family Code is a critical provision for parents seeking to modify a conservatorship order. As demonstrated by the above case law, the statute provides specific requirements that must be met in order to modify an existing order, and parties seeking a modification must adhere to these requirements. Additionally, the case law shows that the Texas courts will carefully consider the best interests of the child when determining whether a modification is warranted.

A Deeper Look At Modification

Grounds For Modification Of Custody Orders In Texas

Pursuant to the Texas Family Code, applications for modification of custody orders are held to a higher legal standard than those filing original applications. When it comes to making decisions concerning the civil rights and liberties of a parent when involved in disputes involving child custody rights, all courts – regardless of their particular subjective beliefs – must adhere strictly to precedent established by U.S Supreme and lower court rulings, as well as appellate precedents applicable within applicable restrictions issued.

The goal is allowing parents equal protection under the law while also taking into account tangible aspects such as proper fit with regards each partner’s willingness and ability to adapt on changes pertaining both children shared between them over time; this may involve post-divorce modifications related secure ongoing relationships amongst family members (including foster or biological parents).

In today’s blog post we will discuss the leading case laws that serve as foundational basis for Texas courts when making decisions regarding grounds for modification of child support orders along with how subsequent cases have served reinforced these important application requirements essential in gaining approval from court system prior any proposed changes can be put into effect.

Overview Of The Law In Texas On Modification Of Custody Orders

In Texas, modifying custody orders is not an easy undertaking. Obtaining a modification requires the court’s willingness to grant a change and proof of a substantial change in circumstances that affects the child’s well-being. Factors such as relocation, abuse, neglect, or a child’s preference may be considered. It can be a complicated process that involves navigating the legal system and gathering substantial evidence to support the modification. Therefore, seeking the help of an experienced family law attorney is crucial to ensuring the best interest of the child is protected. The legal system in Texas values the welfare of children, and modifications will only be granted if the court believes it is in their best interest.

Potential Changes That May Lead To A Modification In Custody Orders

Texas courts recognize that the life of a family can change drastically over time, and that these changes may require a modification to the custody order. Whether it be an increase in workload or moving to another state, potential changes in parents’ circumstances can warrant a modification in custody orders. If one parent is failing to comply with the court-ordered custody arrangement and has caused significant harm to the child, they could also face a change in custody orders.

Regardless of what necessitates a change, Texas law requires certain criteria be met before any alterations are made to the existing order. Under both Texas statutes and case law, critical factors such as best interests of the child, psychosocial environment within each household and compliance with prior orders must all be taken into consideration when contemplating changes to a malicious or outdated agreement. Ultimately, it is important for those seeking modifications to their parental rights know their rights in this ever-changing landscape and understand that modifications can occur if necessary conditions are met.

Remarriage By Either Parent

The remarriage of either parent can sometimes lead to modifications in custody orders. While custody battles are not something anyone wishes to experience, the desire for a better future for the child may require legal intervention. Custody arrangements are meant to ensure the child’s well-being and stability, and a remarriage can introduce changes that challenge these goals. Factors such as the distance between homes, parenting styles, and even the new stepparent’s relationship with the child can lead to disputes. It is essential to seek a legal professional’s guidance to navigate the complex and delicate process of modifying custody orders. An experienced family lawyer can help you understand the nuances of the law and the best strategies to ensure your child’s well-being.

Change Of Residence By The Custodial Parent

In the world of family law, custody orders are meant to be in the best interest of the child. However, life is unpredictable and changes can happen at any moment. One potential modification to a custody order could be the change of residence by the custodial parent. This is a serious matter that requires legal attention. When a parent wants to move out of state, it can have a significant impact on the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights and the child’s overall wellbeing.

A court will consider several factors before deciding if a modification of the custody order is necessary. These may include how drastic the move is, how it will affect the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent, and the reasons for the move. A skilled family law attorney can guide parents through the legal process and ensure that the child’s best interest is prioritized throughout the proceedings.

Significant Health Problems For Either Parent Or The Child

In Texas, modification of child custody agreements can occur for a variety of reasons. One such reason is due to significant health problems for either the parent or the child involved. When faced with such circumstances, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that the best interests of the child are being considered. Modifications to custody agreements may be necessary to provide for the child’s physical and medical needs, and seeking legal guidance can ensure a smooth transition and protect the rights of everyone involved. If health problems are impacting your ability to fulfill your parental duties, considering a modification may be necessary for the well-being of your child.

Relevant Case Laws For Reference

In Texas, modifying child custody arrangements can be a complicated and emotional process. Fortunately, there are relevant case laws that can serve as helpful references. One such case is the landmark decision of Troxel v. Granville, in which the Supreme Court of the United States clarified the constitutional rights of parents in child custody cases. Another important case to consider is In re J.G., in which the Texas Court of Appeals emphasized the importance of considering the child’s best interests when deciding custody modifications. These cases and others provide valuable guidance for parents and their legal counsel when navigating the complex world of child custody modifications in Texas.

The Best Interests Of The Child Test And Its Application To Modification Of Custody Orders

The best interests of the child test is a crucial consideration in legal proceedings involving children, particularly those concerning modification of custody orders. As legal professionals, our duty is to ensure that the welfare of the child takes precedence, and this test provides a framework for assessing various factors that might impact a child’s wellbeing. These include the child’s emotional and physical needs, their relationship with their parents and other individuals, and any relevant community and cultural ties. In applying this test to custody modifications, we must carefully consider how any proposed changes might affect the child, always keeping their best interests at the forefront of our decision-making process.

Helpful Tips For Navigating The Process For Seeking A Modification In Court.

When seeking a modification in court, the process can often seem daunting and overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any prior legal experience. However, with some knowledge and preparation, you can make the process smoother and more manageable. First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what you’re seeking to modify and why. Be clear and concise in your desired outcome and explain the reasons behind it. It’s also crucial to gather all necessary documents and evidence to support your case. Finally, working with an experienced attorney can make all the difference, as they can offer guidance on navigating the legal system and advocate on your behalf. With these tips, hopefully, the process of seeking a modification in court will be a little less intimidating.

Concluding Remarks On The Importance Of Considering All Factors Before Proceeding With Legal Action

Before taking any legal action, it is essential to consider all possible factors that may impact the outcome of your case. Rushing into legal proceedings without proper preparation can lead to unwanted consequences, both financially and emotionally. Taking the time to weigh all the options, consult with legal professionals, and assess the potential risks and benefits can help you make the best decision for your situation. It is vital to remember that legal action should be viewed as a last resort and not a quick fix to resolve conflicts. So, before proceeding with legal action, carefully think about every aspect and make an informed decision.

It is always best to pursue legal action with caution, understanding not only the underlying elements of the law but also potential outcomes as they relate to your individual situation and family circumstance. Modification of custody orders in Texas is based on the best interests of the child test which must be considered carefully when approaching this process.

Ultimately, parties should weigh all the factors involved before filing for a modification in court. A qualified attorney experienced in Family Law can help strategize and navigate these proceedings in order to reach an optimal outcome that adheres to state law and determined in accordance with the best interests of the child standard. In short, it’s critical for those who intend to pursue a custody modification to understand their rights and obligations; seek out experienced counsel and ensure that their ultimate purpose is serving what’s best for themselves, as well as their loved ones.

For more information regarding modification of Texas custody orders, contact Daniel Ogbeide Law.

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