Bellaire Modifications Lawyers Assisting Clients Needing a Post-Divorce or Custody Modification
Regardless of whether the terms of your divorce were reached through litigation or amicable negotiation, the resulting orders are legal obligations that both parties are expected to comply with. Those orders can include specific instructions for how marital property should be divided, custody and parenting schedules of children, and how and when child or spousal support will be paid or received. When circumstances change, couples can ask the court to make modifications. At ALP Law Firm, we have assisted many clients seeking post-decree modifications – here are a few important aspects to know about this process.
What Kind of Post-Decree Changes Are Allowed in Texas?
The most common changes dealt with in court are spousal support modifications, child support modifications, and child custody/visitation modifications. Spousal support (sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony) can deeply impact the financial well-being of both parties, so Texas courts allow for modification requests as long as the party requesting the modification can prove substantial changes in their financial circumstances. Those may include unemployment, an injury resulting in the inability to work, or any other involuntary reductions in income.
Child support modification requests can also be triggered by the same reasons, but when the child’s needs change (such as the child requires special medical treatment or becomes disabled), a parent can request an increase in the amount paid as child support. Finally, child custody and visitation arrangements can be modified after divorce as long as the party requesting the change can prove that the modification will be in the child’s best interests.
Can I Request a Modification if I Wasn’t Happy With the Judge’s Decisions?
Texas courts allow parties to mutually agree to alter terms, which means if you and your ex agree on what needs to be changed, you may file a petition with the court to change the terms and conditions of your divorce. Orders issued after a divorce is finalized are perceived by the court as being correct, so if you are looking to have any aspects of it modified, you will need to be prepared to show a material and substantial change to your situation as a justification for your request.
Generally speaking, to initiate a modification request, you need to be prepared to present a strong justification – simply being dissatisfied with the judge’s decisions is not enough to get a court to look over your case after it is finalized. If you are unsure of whether you have enough to justify a modification request, speaking to a family law/modifications attorney may be a sensible first step.
What Is the Procedure for Requesting a Post-decree Modification?
As mentioned above, even when you and your ex-spouse agree to a modification, you must file a petition with the court to legally make the change. Simply agreeing to the new arrangement without notifying the court is not a good idea because you can be found to be in contempt of court. Modification cases should be filed in the same court where your original divorce case was handled.
Uncontested modification requests (i.e. completed by default or by mutual agreement) can be done by filing the appropriate forms with the court. When your modification request is contested (i.e., not accepted by the other party), the process is long and will require a modification suit that may include a formal hearing before the judge. If this happens, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of a skilled Texas modifications attorney.
How can a Modifications Attorney Help Me?
Because final divorce orders are thought to be correct, you will need a strong case to get the court to take another look at your divorce decree, especially when the other party is not in agreement with what you are proposing. At ALP Law Firm, we have assisted several clients looking to make changes to their divorce, support, or custody orders. We can help you file the right forms and documentation and be better prepared for the entire process. Contact our Bellaire, TX office to discuss your case at no charge.