Lewisville Modification Order Attorneys
Motion to Modify a Family Law Judgment
After a family dispute has been legally resolved and all duties have been assigned according to the agreement, it may seem like the end has finally come. However, the future is never certain. Circumstances change from one day to the next. Agreements that worked out in the past may not work anymore and you may feel as if you're trapped in a bad deal, and the stress and anxiety that accompanied the initial dispute may come flooding back. Fortunately, custody and support orders made by the court are not set in stone and can be subjected to changes that reflect your circumstances.
Here at Steele Law, P.C., we handle each and every case with our clients' emotional and financial wellbeing in mind. The best interests of you and your family are our priority and we will work towards achieving results to safeguard your future. It is our goal to have the laws work for you, not against you. For a free consultation concerning the modification of custody or support orders, call us at (214) 333-4357.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights
Texas law requires that certain circumstances present themselves before a parent can modify a child custody or visitation order. When reviewing any changes, the court always considers the well-being of the child as a top priority. At least one of these circumstances also must present themselves in order for the court to approve any modifications:
The child or parent's situations have materially changed since the original agreement.
The court can be flexible as to what qualifies a material change, as long as the change meets the basic standards. Examples include a parent's conviction and incarceration, a change in residence that makes visitation for another parent difficult, remarriage, instability in a parent's home or behavior that is negatively affecting the child and any medical condition that significantly impacts a parent's functionality.
The child is at least 12 years old and has requested in chambers with the Judge that he or she wants a change.
The court interviews the child in the privacy of the judge's chambers rather than in the courtroom. However, the child's word is not final. The court ultimately uses their discretion to determine what is best for the child.
The custodial parent has voluntarily relinquished the care and custody of the child to another person for at least six months.
This does not apply to a parent who had military obligations to meet.
If a parent files a motion within one year after the original agreement was made, he or she must also submit an affidavit. One of these allegations must be included on the affidavit along with the corresponding evidence:
- The child's current environment is not conducive to his or her emotional development or it poses great risks to his or her physical health.
- The custodial parent approves the modification, and the modification would be best for the child's well-being.
- The custodial parent has assigned another as the caretaker of the child, and the modification would be best for the child's well-being.
Child support orders can be reviewed every three years to ensure that the amount ordered meets with current legal guidelines. Modification can also be sought before the passage of three years if the circumstances of the child or an affected person have materially and substantially changed since the date the original agreement or order was made and the monthly support amount differs from guidelines by either 20 percent or $100. This allows parents to seek an increase or decrease in the child support ordered if the parent paying child support has a change of employment that results in a significant increase or decrease in his or her income.
If the child support amount was agreed upon by the parties, but does not meet established guidelines, then a modification can be granted if the circumstances of a parent or the child have materially changed since the original order was made.
Either side can file a child support modification suit. Those who can't afford a private attorney can also file a suit through the Office of Attorney General (OAG). However, processing a case through the OAG will be much slower due to their financial limitations and massive backlog of cases.
Making the Adjustments That Are Right for You
Child custody, visitation and support are the most common orders that people seek to modify, but other orders, such as spousal support, may also be considered for modification depending on the circumstances. When considering any type of modification order, it is best to discuss your options with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Texas family law attorney Dina Steele understands that life often throws things your way that do not go in accordance with your plans. She will help you keep calm with experienced legal guidance and communication so you never feel lost or abandoned. Contact us now and get the assistance you need to ensure a better future for you and your family.