Hi, my name is Helena and I am one of the attorneys listed with the Houston Lawyer Referral Service. I practice mainly in the area of family law and have been in practice since 2008.
Today I am going to talk to you a little bit about a petition to modify the parent child relationship as it relates to access and possession and conservatorship. A petition to modify is filed when the existing orders of conservatorship, access and possession are no longer workable. In order to get a modification, a petitioner must show that a modification is in the best interest of the child and one of the following three:
First, you can show that there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties or the child.
Or two, that the child is now 12 or over and will express to the court the child’s preference for the person to be appointed as the conservator that has the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence.
Or three, that the primary conservator has voluntarily relinquished the primary care of the child for the past six months or more.
Most petitions to modify access possession of conservatorship are filed on the basis of material and substantial change. What are some material and substantial changes that would support a modification?
One would be that the needs of the child are now different than what they were back when the order was issued. This is the most common way that modifications are sought.
And so what are some different ways that the needs of the child can be changed?
Well, the child may have been very young when the first order was issued and the child is now older and has a different type of schedule, is in school now, has extra-curricular activities that may interfere with the current possession schedule. That would be one reason why you might want to seek a modification.
Another would be that one of the parents has been physically or emotionally abusive to the child.
Another instance might be that one parent has been alienating the child from the other parent and therefore a modification is needed because the parent is not allowing the other parent to see the child as was previously ordered.
Those are some of the ways you may want to seek a modification.
Modifications can be done by agreement. The petitioner files a petition and they file an agreed order and they are able to get the orders modified, but there may also be a very lengthy litigation if it is not agreed upon. It can be very fact-specific. An attorney can assist you with presenting the facts to court in such a way that they would support your argument for a modification.
If you need further assistance or legal advice regarding a modification please contact the Houston Lawyer Referral Service at www.hlrs.org. Their website is very friendly, has information, and you can get a referral to an experienced attorney that can help you with your modification.
I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for watching.