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Modification of Orders

Dallas Lawyers — Post-Divorce Modification of Orders

"Nothing endures but change. There is nothing permanent except change. All is flux, nothing stays still."
Heraclitus

Change of Custody · Change in Support · Parental Relocation with Children

Following a divorce or other family court action, significant changes of circumstances may require that the terms of the divorce decree or court order be changed. The most frequently requested modifications involve changes of custody, child support, and permission for a parent to move away with a child, when the other parent's custody and visitation rights would be affected.

If the terms of your divorce agreement or family court order no longer fit your family's changed circumstances, contact us to discuss the possibility of bringing a motion to modify the terms of your original order.

Changes of Custody or Visitation: In deciding whether to modify the existing custody arrangement, the family court will look at all of the relevant facts and make a decision based upon the best interests of the child. If a child is older than 12, they can sign an affidavit which states their preference as to where they live and which parent is named conservator. A variety of changes can lead parents to ask that custody be changed following a divorce or custody order. Some examples include:

  • At the time of the divorce, everyone agreed that mom should have custody of the children. Now that the kids are teenagers, they want to live with dad and dad wants them to live with him.
  • The children's father was clean and sober at the time the parents separated. Since then he has relapsed and is now using drugs or alcohol. The mother is worried about the children's safety when visiting their dad on weekends.

Parental Relocation: Following a divorce, one of the parents may want to move to another city or state to accept a better job offer, to be closer to family, or for other reasons. Move-away situations can be more complicated than other change of custody motions. If a parent objects to the child moving away with the other parent, the court will determine whether to allow the move. Factors which will be considered include:

  • The reason and motives for the move
  • The child's attachment to his or her current school, friends and community;
  • The relationship between the child and the parent who is not moving away;
  • How the move will affect the child; and
  • The preferences of the child (especially if over the age of 12).

Increase or Decrease in Child Support: Changes in a parent's income can require a change in the amount of child support. If the parent obligated to pay child support becomes disabled, loses his or her job, or otherwise has a decrease in income and resources, child support may need to be reduced. If a parent has a significant increase in income, or the child has significantly increased needs, child support may need to be increased. In older cases, child support can be increased because of changes in the Texas child support guidelines which raised the maximum amount of income child support can be based on. If your ex-spouse is paying child support and makes more than $6,000 per month, you will probably qualify for an increase in support.

Change of Spousal Maintenance or Alimony: Significant changes of circumstances may enable a husband or wife to ask the court to increase or decrease alimony, or terminate alimony. Disability or illness, increased or decreased income, changes in living expenses and needs, job loss, and retirement are some changes that may lead a court to modify spousal support.

For more information about modification of family court orders and divorce decrees, contact the attorneys at GoransonBain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas.

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