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So child custody in Texas can be modified basically, as soon as an order is entered. The standard that you have to meet is going to be different if it is filed under a year as compared to over a year. So you really need to think long and hard about when to file something and what material and substantial change has taken place. And if this is going to be in the best interest of the child, which is always the overarching thing that is being looked at in family law matters.
So if you just got down with a trial in a particular court think about how is the judge going to look at it if you’re back two weeks later saying oh, Judge, something’s changed, you know, I now need this. Generally, that’s not going to be looked at too favorably unless you’ve really got some really significant changes. So typically, it’s going to happen over a year later but it’s all dependent on the circumstances. I mean if you’ve got something where all of a sudden, the other parent has gone off the deep end with drugs or alcohol you need to get in there with a modification to protect the children. You know, so it really kind of needs to be that emergency situation early on; later it might be that the particular possession schedule you have isn’t working well.
Let’s say that Susie was a great student and now what you find is when she’s with one parent that parent isn’t getting her to school on time, her grades are falling off when she is with that particular parent. You might want to go in and try to modify the possession schedule to limit the time that parent has when little Susie is going to school because she isn’t getting any help and she isn’t getting there in time. And all of a sudden, you’ve just got all kinds of problems there. So there can be a lot more issues that would give rise to a modification a little farther down the road than they would be right after you got something done.
Dallas, TX family law attorney Mark Scroggins explains when custody can be modified.