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Divorce and Family Law Attorneys serving Plano, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Wylie, Murphy, Fairview, Lucas, and surrounding areas.

Modifications

This page is intended as a very general overview of the issues involved in a modification of a Texas conservatorship, possession or support order. The statements and information provided on this website are for informational purposes only. This site is not intended to provide legal advice to the reader and NO attorney-client relationship shall be deemed to arise from the receipt of this page. An attorney-client relationship only arises after the attorney and client have signed a written attorney-client agreement, after the attorney has evaluated the background facts provided and has accepted the representation of the client's legal action.

Sometimes, the judge in a divorce case will warn the parties that “I'm going to be your judge for the next 18 years.” This is because all orders the judge makes about the children (conservatorship, possession, child support, etc.) can be modified until the children are 18 years old (or graduate from high school, in the case of child support). So, the day the divorce decree is signed is, sometimes, not the end of the case, but just the end of Round 1.

Good lawyers always strive to help clients put together parenting plans that will continue to be workable in the long term, but circumstances such as job loss and changes in parent-child relationships sometimes require modification of child custody and support orders. Generally, if there has been a “material” change in circumstances of either party, or the children, since the Court made its prior order, either conservator can file a motion to modify the terms of conservatorship, possession or support. There are innumerable scenarios that might constitute a material change in circumstances, but some common ones are: loss of a job (modify child support), one parent starting to drink, use drugs, or start living with someone who does (modify conservatorship), one parent getting a new job with different hours (modify possession schedule). The party seeking to change the prior order will, generally, have to prove that there has been a change in circumstances and that the change in the order they are requesting is in the best interest of the children.

This is not to say that it is easy to change the terms of a prior order, just that the door to the courthouse is always open to either party seeking to do so. It may, in fact, be pretty difficult to get a change made, especially the more recently the prior order was made. You should never agree to an order you don't like based on the assumption that it can, or can't, be modified later. For instance, it would be a mistake to agree to an unfavorable division of property in your divorce in order to avoid paying child support—a motion asking the judge to order payment of child support can always be filed later.

If you have questions about modifying your order, or about what you need to do to lay the groundwork for a future modification, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

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