Unfortunately, when you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, the next step is discussing custody and visitation rights if you have children. It is important to understand, however, that a divorce decree is not set in stone and can change under certain circumstances. Texas law recognizes that as time goes on, circumstances can change, which means child custody and visitation rights can, too. Most importantly, these rights can only change if it is in the best interest of the child and one of the following situations occurs:
Material and Substantial Change
There are several situations which may qualify as a material and substantial change since the original child custody order or agreement was decided. The state of Texas considers such events as one parent remarrying, losing a job, suffering from a severe medical condition, an alcohol or drug habit, committing a criminal act or changing residence as qualifications that could trigger a change in custody or visitation rights. If there is an issue of an ex-spouse not paying child support or material and substantial change in circumstances, a family lawyer at Hill & Hill Attorneys can help you pursue legal action to garnish wages or fight for sole custody if your children are endangered or living in an unhealthy environment.
If your child is at least 12 years of age and has requested to live with his or her other parent, the court may consider making a change. During the proceeding, the child may be interviewed in the judge’s private office – as opposed to publically in the courtroom – and the final decision will be made based on what is in the child’s best interest, not just his or her preference.
Sometimes the custodial parent will voluntarily place their children in care of another person. If this occurs for at least six months, the court can decide to permanently modify the custody of the child to the new caregiver. This does, however, exclude temporary relinquishment due to military leave, but other situations may lead to a potential case for a change of custody appeal.
In any of these circumstances, it is important to hire an experienced Texas family lawyer to guide you through the process. Hill & Hill Attorneys specializes in helping ensure the best possible outcome for your family. For a free initial consultation, call our office at 866-369-2889 and discuss the specifics of your child custody modification case with a member of our team today.