Many Texas parents provide care for their children in connection with a court order. These court orders are often issued as part of divorce proceedings. Unless and until a family court judge changes an existing child custody order, both parents must continue to adhere to its terms.
There are several legitimate reasons, however, that might compel a parent to file a new petition in court to request a modification of a child custody order. This means that the parentin question would be asking the court to change the terms of the existing order in some way. For a judge to be convinced that modification would be the best option for serving the children’s needs, the parent who filed the petition must show just cause, meaning, provide a legitimate reason for the request.
Court that granted the divorce typically has child custody jurisdiction
A Texas parent seeking modification of a child custody order would usually file a petition with the same court that handled his or her divorce. The judge overseeing that case has the authority to modify the custody order until the children are out of high school or are otherwise emancipated. Here are three issues that might compel a family court judge to modify a custody order:
- Circumstances have arisen that make the original order no longer feasible.
- The other parent has shown signs of being unfit for custody.
- The other parent moved away without telling anyone.
A parent must do more than state the reason for a modification request. Evidence must be presented that convinces the court the reason is legitimate.
Children’s best interests are the central focus
Some Texas parents try to use the system as a means for taking revenge on their ex following a divorce, such as trying to get a child custody order changed, just to make the other parent mad or to try to have his or her custody taken away, without just cause. The court does not look favorably on anyone who tries to beat the system. However, if a parent has a legitimate reason for requesting modification of the court order, the court is obligated to consider it.