Original court orders are legally binding, but that doesn’t mean parents and ex-spouses have no form of recourse if circumstances change. Modifications allow individuals to change court orders to better suit their needs. These changes are often best for everyone involved and can prevent financial hardship, future lawsuits, and ill will.
At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we help people determine if a modification is the right course of action, and ensure that all financial obligations and visitation arrangements make sense for our clients. We can help you develop a compelling case and have that case heard, so you can make necessary changes as soon as possible.
To secure a modification, your situation or your ex-spouse’s must have changed drastically between filing the original order and now. Whether you obtained a raise and can now help your children more or you’re trying to keep an unfit parent from keeping visitation rights, we are ready to protect you and your child’s rights under the law.
Child Support Modifications
The ability to pay support often changes over time as a parent’s financial status, custodial status, health status, or a child’s health status changes. If a paying parent takes a new job earning a higher income, an ex-spouse may petition the court to change support payments. On the other hand, if you lose your job, you may lower your payment rates to reflect that change. Military members returning from active duty may also qualify for a modification. The courts will not recognize any changes they believe were voluntary, i.e., you can’t change jobs intentionally to pay less child support.
Child support orders in Texas can change if the last order was three or more years ago, the state guidelines for support change, or a parent’s circumstances change. The paying individual must pay according to the child support order that is legally binding at the time. A parent cannot stop paying or adjust payments based on an individual agreement.
Child Custody and Visitation Modifications
If new circumstances arise that would change what is in the best interest of the child, parents may petition to modify existing custody and/or visitation orders. Circumstances that might warrant a change in legal and physical care arrangements include a parent’s disability, criminal convictions, residential location changes, or a parent’s remarriage.
Children older than 12 often have an opportunity to participate in modification changes. The courts will consider a child’s wishes along with the changes that have taken place within both households.
In some cases, parents give up their rights to another individual over time, knowingly or unknowingly. A parent who does not spend time or care for a child under existing orders for six months or longer may lose custody and/or visitation rights.
Spousal Support/Alimony Modifications
Many spousal support orders are governed by a restricted period, and the need for modification is unnecessary. However, either spouse may petition for a modification if something changes in individual situations. For instance, if an individual’s needs increase due to medical necessity, the courts may require the payee to increase payments. In other cases, the courts may terminate a spousal support order or reduce payments. Spousal support modifications are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Securing Legal Support for Modifications
To ensure the family law judges hear and respect your wishes, retain a qualified attorney who understands modifications in Texas. At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we help individuals with all types of family law court order modifications. We understand the changes that warrant modification and the evidence the court needs to see to agree to a change. For more information, please contact our office for a free case evaluation.