Modifying Family Court Decrees
Many circumstances can change in the years following a divorce. If you would like to request a change to court orders or if you would like to contest changes proposed by your ex-spouse, a family law attorney like Terry L. Hart can evaluate your options.
Terry Hart, a divorce and child custody lawyer in the Galleria area of Houston, brings a practical and affordable approach to the modification of a family law order. Many modifications can be done by agreement between the two parties. If the two parties do not agree, the issue will be decided through a contested trial.
Getting A Modification of Child Custody Orders
A child custody order that established child custody and a visitation schedule that was in the best interest of a child at age 3 may not be in the child’s best interest at age 14. In any case, you will generally have to prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Some common reasons for making modifications to custody or parenting arrangements include:
- There has been a material and significant change in your circumstances, your spouse’s circumstances or your child’s circumstances.
- The child is at least 12 years of age and the child expresses to the court the person the child prefers to be the primary custodian.
- The primary custodian has voluntarily relinquished possession of the child to another person for six months.
- A parent would like to relocate out of state or is subject to a military deployment.
- The child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or emotional development.
- The primary conservator desires to transfer the child to a school in another district against the wishes of the other parent or outside the geographic restrictions of the custody order.
Modifying Child Support Orders
You can seek a modification of a child support order if:
- The circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the rendition of the order.
- Three years have passed since the rendition of the order, and the child support under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from what would currently be ordered under the child support guidelines.
If the parties agreed to the amount of child support in the child support order, the court may modify the order only if the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order.
A child support order can also be changed in certain circumstances if there has been a change in the physical possession of the child.