D and T began a relationship when D was separated from his wife. After T became pregnant with the minor child, D and his wife reconciled. A few months after the minor child was born.
In May 2015, an order was entered with the consent of the parties and granted the parties joint legal custody. T was granted primary physical custody, and D was granted frequent and liberal parenting time, including when T was at work or school.
Modifying Custody Oder
In July 2020, D filed a motion to enter order recognizing D’s physical custody of the minor child and for change of domicile. D alleged that there had been a material change in circumstance that would warrant a change in custody because D’s wife planned to relocate to Texas, following a promotion. According to D, the move would not alter the established custodial environment, which existed solely with D. D alleged that, since 2017, the minor child had been in his care for a majority of the time due to T’s work schedule. D also alleged that he was a stay-at-home-father and, therefore, was always available to care for the minor child’s physical, financial, and educational needs.
T opposed the motion, arguing that she was the minor child’s primary caregiver, and that D was not a stay-at-home-father. Rather, according to T, D had a job in Michigan and planned to start his own business in Texas. T argued that the trial court should not modify the May 2015 custody order and that the trial court should deny D’s motion for change of domicile.
Before modifying or amending a custody order, the trial court must determine whether the moving party has demonstrated either proper cause or a change of circumstances to warrant reconsideration of the custody decision.
Best Interest Factors
If the movant seeking to change custody successfully establishes proper cause or a change of circumstances under the applicable legal framework, the trial court must then evaluate whether the proposed change is in the best interests of the child by analyzing the appropriate best-interest factors.
Assistance with Post-Decree Modifications
It is important to remember that decrees regarding child support, child custody, visitation and spousal support (alimony) are not always final.