What are Suits to Modify Custody or Child Support?

Modify Custody Child SupportModify Custody Child Support – What are Suits to Modify Custody or Child Support? – Modifications are a request to change the terms of an original court-ordered custody, visitation, or support agreement. There are a variety of reasons to seek a modification, including the need to accommodate scheduling conflicts, illnesses, and other circumstances. But the ultimate goal is to do so with the best interest of a child at heart.

This blog will broadly discuss the two types of modifications: a suit to modify conservatorship, possession, or access and a suit to modify child support. We will also lay out the acceptable grounds (reasons) for each modification suit.

Modify Custody Child SupportSuits to Modify Conservatorship, Possession, or Access

Per the Texas Family Code, this modification suit includes requesting adjustments to who makes decisions on behalf of a child, who the child is authorized to live with (parent, grandparent), and who has access to the child.

The Family Code divides the reasons for modifying child custody into three distinct types:

The general grounds for modifying conservatorship, possession, or access

  1. When both parties agree to the modification and the modification is in the child’s best interest.
  2. The child ( at least 12 years old) requests a primary conservator and the modification is in their best interest.
  3. A conservator relinquishes primary care to another person and the modification is in the child’s best interest.
  4. The circumstances of a child, conservator, or another party affected by the order have changed substantially.

The grounds for modifying possession or access in a suit brought by a grandparent (All the following must be true)

  1. At least one of the child’s biological or adoptive parents has not had their parental rights terminated.
  2. The child’s physical health, emotional well-being would be significantly impaired if possession or access were denied.
  3. The grandparent is the father or mother of one of the child’s parents, and that parent has either been in jail for at least three months, judicially declared incompetent, has died, or does not have court-ordered possession or access to child.

The grounds to modifying access in a suit brought by a sibling (All of the following must be true)

  1. The sibling has been separated from the child.
  2. The separation was the result of an action taken by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
  3. The sibling’s access to the child would be in the child’s best interest.

Suits to Modify Child Support

These suits are to change the amount, scope, or duration of court-ordered child support. It is important to note that parents and/or legal guardians cannot agree to modify the terms of court-ordered child support without court approval.

The Family Code provides three possible grounds for modifying child support:

Parties agree – Keep in mind that all parties must agree to the modification, and it has to be in the child’s best interest.

The three-year modification rule – A court can modify an original order without proving, “a material and substantial change” within three years of the original order being rendered or last modified and the monthly child-support obligation differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded under the original order.

A material or substantial change – A court can modify the order if the circumstances of either the child or person affected have substantially changed since the earlier of the date the order was rendered or the date the parties signed a mediated or collaborative-law agreement on which the order was based.

This blog was merely meant to provide an overview of modification suits for Modify Custody Child Support. Before filing your case, give Nelson Law Group, PC a call. It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation. Our friendly staff is here to help you. For more information about Brett A Nelson click here.