Modification of the parent child relationship
As a round rock lawyer frequently I am confronted with different issues that deal with children from broken households. Modifications of child custody orders have become a little more complex this year because of some changes in the law that began September 1, 2015. The issue that has been changed by the Texas Legislature is temporary orders following the filling of a modification of a child custody determination.
The Texas Legislature changed the law by adding the requirement that an affidavit has to be submitted setting for the grounds for modification during temporary orders. Presumably, the requirement of the affidavit was because the burden is so high to change who has the right to determine the primary residence of the child on temporary orders.
Another interesting topic is weather a party can be defaulted on a modification case for failure to answer. In Considine v. Considine the court noted that "before provisions relating to conservatorship, possession, and support in prior orders may be modified, the court must conduct a hearing." The Texas Court is saying that failure to answer a lawsuit in a modification does not mean the allegations in the petition to modify the parent child relationship are automatically true. In order to modify the prior order the movant must prove up the required allegations of the motion to modify.
What happens if the parent with the right designate the primary residence of the child dies? The custody order no longer governs the right to possession of a child when the person with the right to designate the primary residence of the child dies. This does not mean that a modification is not necessary. Even though a prior order may not govern the person with the right to designate the primary residence of the child, it still is a prior order. The first step a party would take when the parent with the right to designate the primary residence of the child dies would be to file a writ of habeas corpus compelling his or her present possession, not necessarily custody. The next step would likely be to file a modification of the prior order. However, there are cases that say you a person should file an original suit after the death of the primary conservator of the child. This is clearly a very complex area of the law. If you are faced with a modification of a child custody order you should consult with an experienced child custody lawyer.