As life changes, so do the needs of your children and family. These changes may require you to revisit a parenting plan that is already in place. The Texas Family Code recognizes that changes in circumstances can make an existing order no longer in the best interest of the children and allows the parties to modify the Court’s prior ruling to better fit your family.
When the last order was signed, the judge, and often the parents, believed the order was in the best interest of the children based on the facts that existed at that time – but when those facts change, it becomes necessary to modify the court’s ruling to reflect those changes and the current needs of everyone involved.
In many circumstances, parents are in agreement that the most recent court order does not meet the current needs of their families. Sometimes, parents discover that as their children grow, their current custody arrangement no longer works for the families’ circumstances, and it becomes necessary to revisit a possession schedule that is in the current best interest of the children. Change is inevitable.
Modification requires the filing of a petition with the court from which the most recent order was issued. The same court who signed the most recent order will decide the outcome of this procedure unless the child has relocated to a different county. In that circumstance, the case can be transferred to the county where the child currently resides.
Modification does not always require that the parties endure a contested court proceeding. An order can be modified by agreement and then approved by a judge so long as it is in the children’s best interest. It is always possible to reach agreement on new terms, either through the mediation process or informal negotiation, that better suits your daily lives as they exist now, not at the time the last order was signed.
If the parties are not in agreement about changes to the existing order, you may have to go to court to show the judge that the proposed change is in the best interest of the children. An existing order may be modified at any time if there has been a material change in circumstances. Some examples of changes that may give rise to a modification include:
- Child’s opinion
- New step-parent
- Change in employment
- Child abuse
- Family violence
- Substance abuse
- Criminal convictions
- Medical diagnosis
- Change in financial situation
Modification of Child Support
If you are currently paying child support under an existing court order, but your financial circumstances have changed, it is possible to reduce the amount of child support you are required to pay. If you have additional children to support since the last court order or you have had a change in employment affecting your income, it may be possible to reduce your obligation.
If you are receiving child support under an existing court order, you can ask the court to increase the amount you are paid so long as it has been three years since the last order and the new amount of child support you are owed would increase by $100.00 or twenty percent.
Contact The Price Firm
If your existing custody or support order needs modification, The Price Firm has the litigation experience to guide you in putting together the strongest possible case in order to achieve the best outcome for your family. Contact us today to set up a consultation so we can discuss your situation. A consultation will be necessary to get an honest legal opinion regarding whether you will be able to meet the court’s standard. Our goal is always to provide realistic expectations of the most likely outcome in court.
Whether your divorce was finalized in Dallas County, Denton County, Collin County or another jurisdiction, we can ensure the modification is filed in the proper court with the proper jurisdiction. We represent clients in counties across North Texas.