A court may generally only modify a Texas custody order if the modification is in the best interest of the child and there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the previous order was rendered or the parties signed the settlement agreement. The court may also modify an order if the modification is in the child’s best interest and an older child has told the court his or her preference or if the parent with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence voluntarily gave up primary care or possession of the child for six months or more. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 156.101.
In some cases, when one parent seeks a modification, the trial court may instead grant a modification requested by the other parent. In a recent case, a mother challenged a modification giving the father the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence after she had initially moved for a modification to expand the geographic restriction on the child’s primary residence.
Mother Files Modification Suit
Following the parties’ divorce, the mother had the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence in one of two counties. She petitioned for modification eight years later, seeking increased child support and the right to designate the child’s primary residence in one of the counties or any contiguous county. The father requested the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence within that designated county.