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Modifying a Texas Divorce Decree

Posted on in Divorce

Austin Family Law AttorneyThe divorce process can be a long one, especially in a high asset or complex divorce. It can take months – if not longer – to finally come to an agreement with your spouse as to how certain issues will be determined. Although one may think that after all of the fighting and negotiations that the final divorce decree would be just that – final – the reality is that many couples end up back in court at some point in order to have parts of that decree modified.

Not all parts of divorce decree can be modified. For example, asset and property division can not be modified unless there is evidence that fraud occurred during the divorce process. But other parts, such as child custody, child support, or alimony, may be able to be modified if the requesting spouse can show a substantial change of circumstances.

Modifying a Child Custody Order

Child custody is one of the most difficult areas of family law. When making the final custody decision, the courts always rely on the best interest of the child doctrine. Once the final decision has been made, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that are or will have an impact on that best interest in order for the court to even consider modifying the original order, unless both parents are agreeing to the change.


Travis County Parenting  Time LawyerThere is no denying that divorce is stressful, even if you are the spouse who wants to end the marriage. It can be even harder if you and your spouse have children. One of the most difficult parts is breaking the news to your child about the divorce. So many couples have a hard time themselves understanding why the marriage is ending and wonder how will they ever be able to get their child to understand why.

Sharing the News as a Team

Although there may be much acrimony currently existing between you and your spouse, it is critical for your child’s emotional well being to be able to put up a united front for them. When the time comes to share with your child that you are divorcing, it is much better to have both parents do it together, rather than separately. This will help reassure your child that although their parents will no longer be together, their love and concern for their child will always be there. Having this security is crucial in your child’s acceptance of the situation.

Ask Questions to See What Your Child Already Knows

There’s an old saying, “little pitchers have big ears,” that aptly describes the hearing capacity of children when it comes to things they probably should not hear. While you and your spouse may have thought you were sheltering your child from the arguments and issues that have led up to the breakdown of your marriage, it is very likely that your child has a sense that things have not been right. They may have even been dealing with their own emotional stress over things they have overheard or seen, but were not able to understand.


Travis County Family Law AttorneyEach state, including Texas, sets its own child support guidelines that the family courts use to determine how much one parent should pay the other parent for child support. Child support is supposed to cover all the basic needs of the child – including shelter, food, and clothing. There are certain expenses for children, however, that are not automatically included in a standard child support order. One of these expenses is for education.

Education Costs

Most parents can attest to how expensive education costs have become. It is not only tuition payments, if the child attends private school or daycare programs, but even the costs for children who attend public schools can be hefty. School expenses for children can include:

  • School clothes


Travis County Divorce LawyerIn our prior post, we discussed the red flags to watch for that could mean your spouse is committing financial fraud in order to prevent you from getting your fair share of marital assets in your divorce. In this post, we will talk about some of the steps your divorce attorney can take to make sure your spouse is not successful in his or her attempt to hide assets from you.

What to Do If You Suspect Financial Fraud in Your Divorce

Having a seasoned divorce attorney advocating for you is critical when it comes to protecting your rights in a divorce, especially when a couple has substantial assets, like the family home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, and more. During the divorce process, each party must complete financial affidavits that list their monthly income, assets, debts, and monthly expenses. These documents are filed under the penalty of perjury, however, that caveat does not always deter a spouse who is determined to commit financial fraud.

In addition to the financial affidavits, additional financial information can be requested by each side during the discovery process, however, there really is no way to know if the other party is providing all of the information requested. If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide assets, there are steps that your divorce attorney can take to uncover that fraud, such as hiring a forensic accountant.


Travis County Divorce LawyerAs many people who have gone through a divorce can attest, when a couple has decided to end their marriage, the relationship between the two of them is usually pretty strained. Often, there is anger, frustration, hurt, and other emotions that can make it difficult to communicate with each other in order to negotiate a satisfactory divorce settlement. There can also be strong feelings of distrust, especially if one of the spouses was having an affair or engaged in some other behavior that leaves the other spouse feeling betrayed. This contentiousness can lead to financial fraud by one spouse in an effort to deny the other spouse their fair share of the marital estate.

In this post we will address the warning signs to watch out for that could indicate your spouse is committing financial fraud. In our next post, we will discuss some of the steps you can take to make sure your best interests are protected.

Signs of Financial Fraud

In some situations, the spouse may have taken steps to hide assets even while the couple was still together. In addition to hiding assets to avoid making them part of any property division settlement, they may also hide assets to avoid paying their fair share in child support or alimony payments.

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