Texas allows a child custody location modification in limited situations. While the court prioritizes the best interest of the child, a modification request may be considered under certain circumstances. Parents may make a request if one of the following applies:
- Circumstances surrounding the child, one or both parents, or the caregiver will substantially and materially change since the date of any current custody order or the signing date of an agreement from which any current order comes.
- A child 12 years or older goes before the court and expresses a preference as to which party he or she would prefer as a primary residence.
- The party with current rights of primary residence voluntarily gives up primary care and possession to another person for at least six months.
Material and substantial
Texas family courts recognize a few circumstances that meet the criteria for material and substantial change in child custody. A parent may have remarried and the union affects existing agreements, or perhaps an illness hampers a caregiver’s ability to provide care.
A change in residency might render current agreements unworkable, especially if that person is leaving the state. Other factors include investigations of domestic violence or child abuse.
As to child preference, the court will interview children 12 and older. The judge accesses level of maturity, specifically the child’s ability to present a well-reasoned opinion. But no rule or regulation requires the court to grant the child’s request if it’s perceived to not be in the best interest of the child.
To request a change in child location, you must file a motion to modify custody. If both parents have already come to an agreement, it simplifies the process.
If not, everything from both parties appearing in court to filing proper responses promptly can impact the outcome. Ultimately, a judge will have to approve or deny the modification request.