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What is a Child Custody or Support Modification?


Courts don’t like it when families don’t get along, especially when orders relating to minor children are involved. These orders typically include child custody or conservatorship orders, child support orders, and child visitation or possession orders. To respect the requirement to follow existing court orders and be fair to parents, the law allows parents to ask for modifications, but only in specific situations.

Each modification request will be vastly different from others. But judges and courts will always evaluate the modification requests based mainly on the children’s best interests and whether there has been a substantial and material change in the child or parent’s circumstances that warrant a modification.

When Can I Request a Child Custody Order Modification?

According to the Texas Family Code, parents can request and secure modifications to their existing child custody order. In Texas, conservatorship is the legal term for custody. A parent can be a managing conservator who makes decisions on the needs and upbringing of their child or a possessory conservator who lives with their child. Both types of conservatorship orders may be modified based on these reasons:

  • The conservator or child’s circumstances have changed substantially and materially since the original conservatorship order took effect or the parents entered into a collaborative or mediated agreement.
  • A modification to the sole right to determine the child’s primary residence may be allowed if they are requested within a year of the original order.
  • A modification to the parts of the conservatorship order, including the child’s primary residence, may likewise be modified for other reasons, such as a child’s preferences if they are 12 years old or older.
  • Child abuse, neglect, or other reasons

When Can I Request a Child Support Order Modification?

If you or the other parent’s circumstances have changed, you can request a review and modification of the existing order. Factors that the court may consider when assessing whether there has been a substantial or material change to justify the modification of a child support order may include:

  • The parent got demoted or lost their job. Take note, however, that if this is the case, the court will expect the parent to continue looking for a job to support their child. The court will not consider a modification request if the demotion or job loss is intentional so that the parent makes less money and avoid providing child support.
  • A promotion or a new higher-paying job. If the parent’s income increases, the court may consider this a substantial and material change in circumstances.
  • A change in the parent’s health status, such as long-term or worsening health issues that make them incapable of working.
  • The child incurs special or extra health-related expenses.

Reach Out to a Seasoned San Antonio Family Lawyer Today

If you are considering requesting a modification of your child support or custody order or your child’s other parent has requested a modification, contact Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC for legal advice. Our San Antonio family lawyer can review your case. Call our office at 210-222-9132 or send us an online message to set up your appointment.