How Child Custody Modification Works

Understanding how child custody modification works is essential when life circumstances change. Change is inevitable, and it affects various aspects of our lives, including childcare arrangements. If you’ve navigated a family law case before, you know that modifying custody orders can be daunting. It involves acknowledging the need to revisit and update court orders to align with your current situation.

When it comes to modifying a child custody order, several factors to bear in mind. The first is that not every change in circumstances necessarily requires or would allow for a modification in court. With that said, in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you my thoughts on how child custody modifications work and a little bit more about the circumstances that could lead to a successful change for your child custody orders. So much of a child custody modification case depends on the specific events you and your family find yourself in. Let’s examine the essential information on this subject to know how to proceed if a modification becomes necessary for your family.

How do you change an existing custody, visitation, or child support order?

To change or modify an existing child custody or child support order, you must file a modification case in the same family court that issued the initial order. If you’ve moved, determine if the new court has jurisdiction. In Texas, a family court can hear a modification case if you’ve lived in the county for at least 90 days and in Texas for the past six months. Otherwise, file in the original county. Negotiating temporary or informal modifications with your co-parent is common but can lead to uncertainty. Going to court for a formal modification ensures clarity and stability in your child custody orders.

You can modify a custody order without a lawyer using online resources like texaslawhelp.org for guidance. However, hiring an experienced family law attorney is the most efficient option in Texas. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan offers free consultations online, over the phone, or in person at our two Houston locations.

Another factor to consider when it comes to modifying a child custody order without the assistance of a lawyer is that it is best to attempt to do so only if your case is an uncontested situation. An uncontested family law case involves circumstances where You and your Co-parent agree on all factors relating to the case; hey Matt, no negotiation will be needed. Only then would I ever recommend attempting to proceed with a child custody modification without the assistance of an attorney. Even then, drafting court orders can be extremely difficult. As well, it is probably never truly in your interest temp to check us out gas tuition modification without the assistance of an experienced Texas family law attorney.

Who can file a modification case on child custody?

Either you, your co-parent, or other parties listed in the current child custody order, such as grandparents or relatives with conservatorship rights, can file a modification case in a Texas family law court. For example, if the initial custody arrangement involved the child living with a grandparent or relative, they could potentially file for a modification.

Additional requirements for the filing of a child custody modification by a person other than you or your Co-parent would be that person would need to have had actual care, control, and possession of your child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days before the date you filed a modification case with the court. That person must have lived with the child and the child’s parent for at least six months ending not more than 90 days before that person files their modification case. Finally, the only other circumstance in which a person could file a modification on a child custody order would be to appear she is a close relative and both you and your Co-parent are no longer living.

The attorney general’s Texas child support division can also file a modification case outside of the people I have already mentioned. This will be done when the attorney general learns of a situation involving your family where a child support modification will be justified. It may happen that someone’s income increases, decreases, or a circumstance regarding the child changes. Remember that the attorney general’s office does not represent you or your Co-parent in this case. Instead, they represent the state Of Texas and their interests in any modification case.

Hiring a family law attorney for your modification case

There is a range of options available to you for hiring a lawyer for your modification case. A key piece to this discussion is that hiring a lawyer is essential to receive accurate advice on the circumstances that involve you. You don’t know what you don’t know, as far as the world of family law is concerned. You are likely missing out on a lot of information that can be helpful to you and your family. Hiring a lawyer is the most efficient way to receive news like this.

You may not have known or considered that you can hire lawyers to perform various functions for you in the world of Texas family law. You can hire an attorney in the traditional way to represent you in all aspects of the case, provide advice, negotiate with your co-parent, and draft documentation for you. In other situations, you may prefer to hire a lawyer to only draft paperwork, attend hearings or mediation with you or provide help in other areas. Most family law attorneys are willing to be flexible with your representation. When you meet with an attorney, you can ask them about issues like this and see what they think.

What does it cost to file a modification case for child custody?

There is a basic filing fee associated with filing your modification case. The specific dollar value of the price will depend on what county you are filing your claim in. A fee schedule is available through the district or county clerk’s website. If you are a low-income individual or otherwise unable to afford to pay the filing fee, you can usually file an affidavit with your petition for the modification. You would need to disclose your circumstances and argue why you cannot afford to pay the filing fee. Usually, proof of pauper status depends on determining your income, bank account balances, and whether you or your children are on government assistance for food, housing, or anything else.

How long do child custody modification cases take?

A lawyer’s favorite answer to give when asked any question is it depends. This is the same answer the lawyer should provide you regarding how long your child custody modification case may take. The answer to this question depends entirely upon the specific circumstances of your case. Many modification cases are straightforward and can be solved with a quick mediation session at the beginning of the case. On the other hand, other modification cases cannot be mediated all that well. In those circumstances is more likely that a trial would be necessary to solve the issues under which the modification has been filed.

In a child support modification case, the party who files the claim is the petitioner. Your hand, if your Co-parent files child support or child custody modification case, then you would be the respondent. This may not be the most pressing question in your mind, but clearing up any party names issues can help you understand different blog posts or articles that you find on the Internet.

What are the chances that a judge modifies your court-ordered child support?

A family court judge there does not apply different bases for judgment to your child custody modification case than they have in any other. Instead, family court judges Determine whether a material and substantial change have occurred in your life, the life of your Co-parent, or in one of your child’s lives before granting the modification request. Even then, they will need to determine that the modification is in the best interests of your child. The bar to clear for a modification case for child custody can be pretty high. It is different than many people believe entering into a child custody case.

When it comes to child support in modifying a child support order, it must have been at least three years since that order was entered, or the correct amount of child support must differ from your current amount of child support by either $100 per month or by 20%. At least when it comes to child support, there is some math you can look to one determining the likelihood that a family court judge will approve your child custody case.

A material and substantial change in circumstances for updating child support or cash medical support mean that at least one of the following circumstances must have a curd. First, the income of you or your Co-parent must have either increased or decreased. Next, whichever one of you is ordered to pay child support must also be legally responsible for additional children not before the court. Finally, if the medical insurance coverage has changed or your child’s living arrangements have changed then, that would be a good reason to file for a child support modification.

Frivolous child support and custody modification cases

Filing frivolous child support or child custody modification suit is not a good idea. This is not a zero-risk proposition where you would not have the relief granted that you are seeking. Instead, and you could be assessed attorney’s fees in certain circumstances.

I have seen Texas family courts state that a decrease in a parent’s salary can be a material and substantial change in circumstances that support a modification in child support. This is not uncommon. However, an essential part of this discussion is that even when it comes to subject matter like this, you can have the perspective of an experienced family law attorney guiding you. An attorney will be able to look at your specific circumstances and help you determine whether or not it is likely that you will have your modification request granted. If nothing else, meeting with a family law attorney before filing a modification case can help save you time.

Is having a baby material and substantial change in circumstances? Paragraph new If you are the parent who is paying child support, then you’re having another baby would count as a material and substantial change in circumstances. In this case, the court may consider creating a new child support order that would account for the new baby in your need to support them.

On the other hand, if you are the parent receiving child support and your new child has the same father as your other children, then the baby is still material and substantial change in circumstances. In that case, you would need to file a paternity suit or suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

Factors to consider in child support modification

You can collaborate with an experienced family law attorney for assistance, or I can contact the office of the attorney general to explore potential support. In Texas, child support guidelines typically entail paying 20% of the parent’s net monthly income for one child, increasing by 5% per additional child, up to a maximum of 50% of the parent’s net monthly income. The dynamics shift if the paying parent has children outside the current case. Modifying child support can impact the core of child custody modification.

Another circumstance that may be relevant to your case is what can happen if your Co-parent chooses to move with the children further away from you. Would you have to continue to pay child support and the increased costs of travel associated with being able to see your children? The reality of the situation is that usually, the parent who moves the children away would have to be responsible for paying the increased costs associated with travel to see the children. Assuming that any modification to these costs would be in the children’s best interest, then it is likely that this is the way a court would rule.


Navigating how child custody modification works requires a nuanced understanding of the legal system and a willingness to adapt to life’s ever-changing circumstances. As individuals, we must recognize that change is inevitable, and it often necessitates adjustments to custody arrangements to best serve the needs of the children involved. While facing the prospect of modifying custody orders may seem daunting, it is a necessary step toward ensuring that the arrangements reflect the current realities of family life. By approaching the process with diligence and seeking appropriate legal guidance, families can navigate these changes with greater clarity and confidence, ultimately prioritizing the well-being of the children above all else.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer a free-of-charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. Thank you so much for being so interested in our law office. We hope that you will join us again tomorrow as we continue to post interesting and relevant information about the world of Texas family law.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX child custody lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child custody lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, KingwoodTomballThe WoodlandsHouston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County, and Waller County.

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