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(Modification) I need to change a custody, visitation, or support order.

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(Modification) I need to change a custody, visitation, or support order.

This toolkit tells you how to change (modify) an existing custody, visitation, child support or medical support order. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

This toolkit includes:

  • Instructions & Forms you can use to file a modification case to change an existing custody, visitation, child support or medical support order.
    • Use the first set of instructions if everyone agrees.
    • Use the second set of instructions if you don’t think the child’s other parent (or anyone else named as a respondent in your case) will participate in the process.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about filing a modification case.
  • Articles on topics related to custody, visitation, child support and medical support.

Need Help?

WARNING! The information and forms in this toolkit are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

 

Instructions & Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I change an existing custody, visitation, child support or medical support order?

You can ask a judge to change a custody, visitation, child support or medical support order by filing a modification case.

Who can file a modification case?

Either parent can file a modification case.

If you are not the child’s parent, you can file a modification case if:

  • You are listed as a party in the current order. or
  • You have had actual care, control and possession of the child for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case with the court and you are not a foster parent. or
  • You have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case, and the child’s parent, guardian or conservator has died. or
  • You are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew and
    • Both parents are dead. or
    • Both parents, the surviving parent or managing conservator agree. - or -   
    • The child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.

The Texas Attorney General Child Support Division can also file a modification case.

Can the Attorney General help me change a court order?
Do I need a lawyer to help me with my modification case?

You do not have to have a lawyer to file a modification case. However, before filing your case it’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your situation. A lawyer can explain your rights and options. 

If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

  • Use our Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid office or self-help center in your area.
  • Check our Legal Clinic Calendar to learn if there is an upcoming free legal clinic near you.
  • Use Ask a Question to chat online with a lawyer or law student.
How much does it cost to file a modification case?

When you file a court case, you must usually pay a “filing fee.” If you need to have the other parent (or other conservator) served, you must also pay an “issuance fee” and a “service fee.” These fees vary by county. Contact the district clerk’s office in the county where you plan to file your case to learn the fees. 

If you don’t have enough money to pay the fees, you can ask a judge to waive the fees by completing and filing a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. Read this short article to learn more: Court Fees & Fee Waivers.

Where do I file a modification case?

You must file a modification case in the Texas county where the current order was made.

If the child has lived in another Texas county for the last 6 months, you must still file the modification case in the county where the current order was made. However, you have the option of asking the court to transfer the case to the child’s new home county. You must file a Motion to Transfer at the same time you file your Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. Talk to a lawyer about whether this makes sense for your case.

If your child has lived in another state for the last 6 months, talk with a lawyer about where to file your case. Use our Legal Help Finder tool for help finding a private lawyer or free or low-cost legal help in your area.

What if my order is from another state?

Ask a lawyer to help you determine if Texas has jurisdiction to change your out-of-state order.

If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

  • Use our Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid office or self-help center in your area.
  • Check our Legal Clinic Calendar to learn if there is an upcoming legal clinic near you.
  • Use Ask a Question to chat online with a lawyer or law student.
What if my order is from Texas but the child, the other parent or I now live in another state?

Ask a lawyer to help you determine if the Texas court that made your order still has jurisdiction to change your order.

If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

  • Use our Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid office or self-help center in your area.
  • Check our Legal Clinic Calendar to learn if there is an upcoming legal clinic near you.
  • Use Ask a Question to chat online with a lawyer or law student.