Modification of a child custody order in Texas

Texas law requires that any alteration in a child custody order be processed through proper court channels and signed by a judge before it can take effect. Although there may be total agreement between the parents and anyone else who has the rights of conservatorship over the child, the existing order is enforced by law and will remain so until it is changed by a judge.

In cases where all relevant parties agree that the child custody order must be changed, the procedure is to file a petition in the office of the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction over the matter. If the original order was filed in another state, then the order must be changed in that state. The court will not alter an order from another state without emergency justification until Texas has become the child’s home state. This requires at least six months of residence and a request to transfer the case from the original jurisdiction.

Contested changes to child custody orders require demonstration to the court that the alteration in the orders is justified by a change in circumstances and that the new order would serve the best interests of the child. It is also necessary to officially notify the other party or parties through an process server or obtain a voluntary waiver from them.

Any custody dispute has the potential to become acrimonious and upsetting to all parties involved, especially the child or children in question. It may be helpful for each parent to consult with an attorney who has experience in family law matters in order to attempt to facilitate negotiations.

Source:, “How do I change custody and child support orders?”, December 23, 2014