How to Get Full Custody of a Child in Texas

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

How to Get Full Custody of a Child in Texas

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Texas only grants full custody of a child in extreme situations. When making a determination, Texas courts want to make sure the best interests of the child are met and that usually means ensuring both parents play a part in the child's life.

Mother and daughter hugging

There are two ways to get full custody in Texas. You can change an existing custody order or seek a new one. Either option will provide you the opportunity to make your case. Below you will find steps on how to take action on your own. You can also use an attorney to assist you through the process.

Modifying an Existing Custody Order

If you already have an existing custody order in Texas which splits time and rights between you and your child's other parent, you should seek to modify that order.

1. Get a copy of your existing child custody order.

You need to view your existing order to determine the current custody arrangement. While Texas favors an equal split, it doesn't always work out that way. You want to make sure you have your facts straight.

2. Draft a motion to modify the existing custody order.

Once you've determined how your existing custody is set up, you need to modify that order by filing a motion, which will include reasons as to why your existing custody order should be modified. You must also include detailed information about how your child's other parent is harming your child or a detriment to your child's well being.

3. Schedule your motion for a hearing.

Now that the court has your motion, you need to schedule a hearing. This can take some time before you're able to get in front of the judge. But it's a necessary step so both you and your child's other parent can make arguments.

4. Argue your motion.

This is the time where you can present evidence to the judge about why you deserve full custody. You should also be prepared to make any counterarguments to what your child's other parent might say. They will have time to make their case during the hearing why the existing order should not be modified.

Seeking a New Custody Order

If you do not have an existing custody order, you will need to file a new one with the court. You can do this by going to your local Texas courthouse, completing paperwork, and paying a filing fee. Throughout the process, you can also speak to someone about the correct steps.

The clerk will give you a form to complete, which will lay out specific information about your child and their other parent. On this form, you will note that you are seeking full custody of your child. After you have filed the form, you will attend several hearings to determine the best interests of your child. You must attend every hearing so you can present evidence to the court that the other parent is unfit and that you should receive full custody.

Whether you are seeking to modify an existing custody order or you are filing a new custody petition, you need to be prepared.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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