Child Custody battles. It's one of the main reasons many people need a divorce lawyer in the first place. Once the custody orders are settled it is important for both sides to stick to them for the benefit of the child(ren). But as you know some things don't go according to plan, especially in divorce. So how can you make a child custody modification? There are many reasons why parents would want to make a child custody modification in the first place. A move- a common reason for a child custody modification is that one parent is planning on moving out of the area. For example, a parent gets a great job in a different state. If the parents share custody that would be difficult, if not impossible, and might require a custody modification. Child safety- One parent may think the child is endangered either physically or emotionally at the other parent's house. That parent will have to provide proof to the court that change is better for the child. Under the Texas law there are a fairly limited amount of circumstances in which a parent can modify a custody order. 1. The child is 12 years or older and says they want a custody change 2. The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child's care to someone else for six months or more 3. The child's or parents circumstances have materially and substantially changed The easy way to a child custody modification- both parents agree If both parents agree to the requested custody changes, the process is relatively easy. A lawyer can draft the agreement, both parents sign it and a judge will approve the agreement. If the child doesn't want to change the arrangement that can change things. The court doesn't usually like to force children to change residences. This holds true especially for kids 12 and over. The hard way to a child custody modification- parents don't agree If both parents can't agree on the custody modification it's time for court. A lawyer will file a petition or motion with the court. A hearing will be scheduled. The parent requesting the modification must prove in the Texas family court a situation that would qualify as, "material and substantial change," in the circumstances of a child or parent affected by a custody order. This means the conditions of the child's life have changed significantly enough for a court to make a different decision regarding a child's best interest. Examples of a "material and substantial change" include a parent's arrest for criminal offenses, a medical condition that adversely affects the way a parent can function, and failure to return children, abuse of a child, or a residence change that makes visiting prohibitive for the other parent, among others reasons. If your family's circumstances have changed so significantly that the previous custody order no longer fits, it might be time to make a custody modification. It's a good time to talk to a family lawyer who has experience with child custody cases and modifications.