People have come into my Round Rock under many different conditions asking about changing an order that had been rendered on a divorce case or child custody case. This issue is covered under Chapter 156 of the Texas Family Code. Specifically the issue is referred to as a motion to modify the parent child relationship. As of September 1, 2016 Texas changed some of the laws under this provision regarding temporary orders.
Specifically, the Texas Legislature added a new requirement that in order to set a case for temporary orders a party must submit an affidavit to the judge and upon approval of the judge the party may than set the case for a temporary orders hearing. The reason for the change is that in order to flip custody on a modification case the party must meet a very high burden. I will cover burdens of changing the right to designate the primary residence of the child in future blog posts.
In order to file a motion to modify the parent child relationship the party must have standing and must file the case in the court with continuing exclusive jurisdiction. A motion to modify is the pleading that contains the allegations and requests being made by the party looking to modify the parent child relationship. There are many different reasons why a party may seek to change a previously rendered order. It may be as simple as the party wanted to change a few provisions relating to rights and duties or as complicated as restricting and denying another parents possession, visitation, and access to a child.
The overriding question with any family law case that involves children is what is in the best interest of the child. This is the most important consideration by any court dealing with a family case involving children. As such, a suit to modify the parent child relationship should only be filed if the modification is in the best interest of the child, there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child, children, conservator, or another party affected by the order.
Generally, a modification suit cannot be filed within 1 year of the order to be modified. There are circumstances under which a motion to be modified can be filed within 1 year, but the lawsuit must have an affidavit attached that sets forth the necessary statutory allegations to obtain such relief requested.
A modification of the parent child relationship is a complex lawsuit that should not be entered into without the direction of an experienced child custody lawyer. There are risks to filing a suit to modify the parent child relationship including:
- typically increases hostility between the parties,
- the changes ordered might not be what you would desire,
- the other party may file a counterpetition, and expense.
There are risks that come with any lawsuit. When you are considering a modification think about the children first! Ask yourself the question What is in the best interest of my child? If the answer is making the change then consult with a qualified child custody lawyer.
If you have a child custody case currently filed against you then you should seek the advice of an experienced lawyer practicing in Williamson County. If you have any questions about child custody please call The Law Office of Clifford Alan Swayze located in Round Rock, Texas at 512-335-5245.