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How to modify your Texas custody order

You may already be divorced and have worked out a custody agreement with your ex, but it is not set in stone. When circumstances changes, you can update the order to reflect those changes.

For example, now that the kids are back in school, your current schedule may no longer be working for you or the kids. You may be able to modify your custody order, which can be simple or complex depending on the approach you take. You have three ways to seek a modification in Texas:

1. Informal mutual agreement

You can talk to your ex about changing the terms informally, meaning that you do not have to go through the court system. As this method does not produce official documentation of the changes you make, it is only best for parents who cooperate with and trust each other. Otherwise, a verbal agreement can backfire if your ex decides not to keep it.

2. Formal mutual agreement

If you want to make the changes legal, then you have to submit a new agreement to the court for approval. You two can create the new terms on your own or with the help of a mediator if you cannot agree on certain details, and you should have your attorney review it for accuracy, fairness and compliance. This route is good for those who can collaborate and want the security of legal enforcement.

3. Court-ordered agreement

In the event that you two cannot work out new terms, or your ex refuses a modification, then you will have to go to court and prove your case. Unfortunately, this strategy is the most difficult and will take time and money. You will have to submit evidence that your change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a new agreement and that the modification would be in the best interests of your children. The judge will make the final decision.

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