Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes changing circumstances, such as a new job or work schedule, may make the terms of a current custody order no longer practical. In these cases, a modification case must be filed with the court.
The modification must be filed in the Texas court that has jurisdiction over the current custody order. There is a fee for filing the modification and there may be fees involved with serving the other parent with any necessary paperwork.
If you and the other parent agree on the necessary changes regarding custody, visitation and any other related terms, the remainder of the modification process is relatively simple. After some modifications forms are filled out and signed by both parents, a judge signs an order making the new custody terms enforceable.
What if the other parent doesn’t agree?
The process becomes more complicated if the other parent does not agree to change the current custody order. If that is the case, after the modification case is filed, the other parent must be served a copy of the modification petition. They are then provided a period of time to file an answer to the petition. If the other parent does not take any further action, or file an answer, a default order with the new terms is entered.
If the other parent files an answer or refuses to sign the modification paperwork, a hearing on the proposed changes will be scheduled. Texas law requires the other parent have at least 45 days’ notice of the hearing, so the process is not always quick.
At the hearing, both parents will be given a chance to present testimony, witnesses and evidence supporting their desired custody schedule and judge will decide the schedule. The rules of evidence must be followed during the hearing. Every custody case is different and speaking with a custody attorney can benefit parents who have questions about the modification process and their best options.