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Modifying a Texas Divorce Decree

 Posted on June 15, 2022 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.

In most cases, there must be proof of inappropriate behavior by one parent and/or there must be evidence that the child is experiencing negative effects under the current order. This type of evidence is necessary no matter which parent is requesting the change in parenting time hours.

An example of what would constitute a change in the original custody order is if one parent had developed a substance abuse issue. If that parent had custody, then the non-custodial parent could use that as grounds for the court to change the custody order.

Conversely, if it is the non-custodial parent who has a substance abuse issue, the custodial parent could use that as grounds to limit visitation or have the court order supervised visitation to ensure the safety of the child.

Modifying A Support Order

If there is any kind of child support order or spousal support order, there must also be a substantial change in circumstances to modify. Some of the possible reasons the court may consider include:

  • Job loss – If the paying parent is terminated from their job or forced to take a lower-paying position and now have a decrease in income, they can request the court modify their child or spousal support obligation.

  • New job – If the paying parent has a new job with a substantial increase in income, the receiving parent can request a modification to increase the amount of child support the paying parent must now be responsible for.

Contact an Austin, TX Divorce Attorney

If you are a divorced but think you may have circumstances that warrant a change in your divorce decree, contact a Travis County divorce modification lawyer to find out what your legal options are. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a confidential consultation.




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