Modifications of Child Support or Custody Orders
Following a divorce and the finalization of the orders relating to child support and child custody, circumstances may change so that a modification of a child support and custody order becomes necessary. Mark is an experienced attorney who can assist you with seeking any modifications to the original divorce decree.
Change in Circumstances
A parent who seeks to modify a custody or visitation order must show that circumstances have changed significantly from the time that the original order was entered. If there is a significant change in the job or income of the spouse paying support, a modification might be appropriate. A minor dispute between parents would not be grounds for changing the order. In addition, any modifications to child support must comply with Texas Family Code guidelines.
Perhaps one of the most emotionally filled issues that could result in a child support and custody modification is the prospect of one parent moving. In reviewing the request and subsequent modifications, the courts will look at the child's or children's existing relationship with the parent who is not moving and how the move will affect the child/children. The courts will focus on what is in the best interest of the child/children when determining whether a modification is appropriate. The post divorce modification lawyers at Mark Rush Williamson, PC also believe that the best interest of the child/children is paramount.
The spouse who is moving must convey the change to the court and convince the court that it is in the best interests of the child/children. Custody arrangements will be modified and support amounts will likely be changed if one parent is forced to pay for traveling a great distance to see their child/children.
Modifying Child Support And Conservatorship
All orders concerning the children are subject to modification in the future. Either parent can petition the Court to change conservatorship, periods of possession, or child support at any time. Note: you should never agree to an Order regarding children based on the assumption that it can always be modified later. In addition, informal agreements between parents are not binding on the Court. For example, if your ex-spouse agrees to give you possession of the children, and changes their mind demanding the return of the children several days later, you have no legal right to keep them. Likewise, if you rely on the promise of your ex-spouse that you can pay a reduced amount each month in child support, a judge can find you in contempt of court later for not paying the full amount. The lesson here is: if further agreements are reached, contact an attorney to have them reduced to the form of a court order.
Enforcing Child Support And Possession
Orders that deal with child support and visitation/possession of the children are enforceable by the Court. Sanctions for failure to pay child support or failure to comply with periods of possession include county jail time and fines.
Always remember that the duty to pay child support and visitation rights are independent of each other - if your ex-spouse refuses to let you visit your children, you still have to pay child support, and vice versa. Your remedy is to go to court and seek enforcement of the order.
Bonus: Changing The Name Of A Child
Unless both parents are in agreement, do not even try it.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment regarding child support and custody modification, please contact us.