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How long does it take to modify child custody court orders?

Grand Prairie, TX |

My ex husband is constantly threatning me to take me back to court to get the child custody order modified. If he has gone to an attorney, how long is a typical turnaround for me to receive notification that the process is begun? Once it has begun, in the State of Texas, how long is the typical turnaround before the final new orders will be completed.

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Attorney answers 3


In PA where I practice law, in order to modify custody, one party would file a petition for modification with the Prothonotary of the county court. THereafter a custody conference would be scheduled within 4 to 6 weeks depending on the court's schedule/ At that time the parties and their attorneys appear at a conference which is designed to facilitate a settlement between the parties and to avoid further litigation. The custody conference officer cannot modify primary custody but can tweek the current order. Only the judge in PA can modify primary custody and this is only after a custody trial which is a big next step, requiring evaluations, home studies and testimony by the parties and other witnesses.

In PA at the time of the conference you generally know what the order will say and will receiving it a few weeks later. IN the case where you have to go to a full hearing the judge can enter the order in open court or ask you to return later to hear the decision.

I hope this information is helpful and wish you the best in your custody matter. I am Connie Merwine and practice law in Northeast PA>

The answer we have provided to you question does not establish an attorney client relationship between myself, Connie J. Merwine or our Firm MHK Attorneys. To get a full and complete answer to your question you should personally consult with a lawyer.


I'm sorry you have to deal with a braying bully.

As soon as he files a Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship, he will have to try to serve you. Service can be done by certified mail, return receipt requested or by a private process server. (There are other ways--those are the two most common in Texas.)

Once you are served, you will have about 25 days to file an answer to prevent a default.

Once you file an answer, the game is on. You might have a hearing on temporary orders anywhere from 3-4 days after you are served to as long as month out, if you have a temporary orders hearing at all. From there, I would not expect a trial in less than 45 days, for several reasons.

Check your final decree of divorce and see if it contains a "Future Disputes" section that requires that the two of you attempt to mediate future disputes before setting hearings or propounding discovery.

Your ex sounds like a bully and you need to hire an attorney to shove him back. Even if he hasn't filed anything yet, having a good family law attorney with whom you are comfortable will make you feel better and might be a way to stop or at least reduce the bullying.

I have frequently taken preemtive action against bullies and sent them scrambling for cover. You should find a family law attorney who may be able to do the same thing for you, depending on your exact factual circumstances.

Good luck!!


After you file, you can seek temporary orders and that hearing can happen (normally) within two weeks of filing. Those orders will be the orders in place (child support, custody, visitation) throughout the proceeding, until final trial is had. Final trial can be as quick as 45 days from notifying the other side... but be prepared for it to take up to six months...

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Texas.



I am not the one filing for a motion to modify. I am content with the current court order that was entered in July of 2011. He failed a drug test which suspended all possession until further order of the court, which is why he wants to file a motion to modify. He has now had 3 clean drug tests, and I am willing to go back to supervised visitation... again. However, I am not willing to have the supervised visitation at my house like I have done in the past due to his recent emotional outbursts.

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