I want the child to live with me (change of custody).

This requires filing a motion with the court to change the conservatorship, possession and access and child support orders. The Office of the Attorney General cannot help with this—it must be handled by a district court. You must file a motion to change conservatorship with a district court (check with the law library in the county that issued the original order and follow the rules about giving the other party notice). If you have a case with the OAG, include the OAG on the notice so any changes to who receives or pays child support are addressed. TexasLawHelp.org has a Modification Kit to help with this process.

The court will hear evidence about why it would be better (in the child’s best interest) for the child to live with you. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to meet with all parties and report the findings to the court. Guardians ad litem represent children’s best interests in family law cases. Their service may be through a domestic relations office or through a private practice. There is a fee for this service, and the judge may make both parties pay a portion of the costs.

When the court decides where a child should live, it is making a decision about conservatorship (commonly called custody).

Although only one parent gets to determine where the child lives, both parents typically have significant access through the standard possession order. Read more about the Standard Possession Order. Read more about the importance of a father’s involvement.