free consultations for injury matters
Calls Answered 24/7


New Braunfels Divorce Decree Modification Attorney

Post Divorce Modifications in Comal County and Guadalupe County

Changes in life happen, and so, as a rule of thumb, most divorce orders should be legally updated at least once every three years. Some common reasons for modification include a change in residence, a change in income, a change in attitude or behavior for parents who share children, or a change in family status. Bear in mind that informal understandings between the parties are not enforceable in court. If there is any disagreement whatsoever, the judge will enforce the terms of the existing orders, regardless of what these orders say or what impact they may have on a family. To ensure that the right modifications can be made while protecting the rights and interests of ex-spouses and their children, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney.

At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we understand that a divorce or other family law case continues long after a court case is completed and an order is signed. Although there may be little or no changes for several months or even several years, disputes almost inevitably arise. At that moment, it is important to have an existing relationship with an attorney, because reinventing the wheel with a new lawyer wastes precious time and money. With our help, you can address any concerns that you may encounter and ensure that appropriate modifications are put in place as needed.

Conservatorship and Custody Modification

Under Chapter 156 of the Texas Family Code, either party can make a motion to modify custody or visitation, as long as an existing order is at least one year old or there is an emotional or physical danger to the child's immediate safety or long-term health. The motion can be based on:

  • Changed circumstances: The alteration must be material and substantial, and the change must be completely unforeseen. These circumstances may include changes to parents' or children's schedules, the remarriage of either parent, changes in children's ongoing needs, or the relocation of a parent who has the majority of the time with the couple's children.
  • Child's preference: A child over 12 may express a preference as to who has the right to determine their primary residence. When children reach the age of 12 and wish to make changes to where they will live, these issues may be addressed by the appropriate family court.
  • Voluntary relinquishment: If a parent has given up their parental responsibilities, child custody orders may be modified accordingly. In general, the primary custodian must leave the children in the "primary care and possession" of another person for at least six months before modifications can be made.

A child's preference is normally a straightforward matter, but the other two issues described above are not. Parents often hotly dispute whether or not the changed circumstances are "material and substantial." If parents leave children with grandparents or other babysitters so frequently that they effectively relinquish primary care and possession, steps may need to be taken to make permanent changes to custody arrangements.

Child Support Modification

To change child support orders, a petitioner must show a material and substantial change in circumstances that has caused at least a 20 percent change in the amount of child support due under the guidelines. There are significant additional restrictions, such as:

  • Imputed income: Obligors who quit their jobs for the purpose of avoiding child support are not entitled to a modification.
  • New spouse: The court cannot consider a new spouse's income to increase or decrease the amount of child support unless there is a termination of paternity rights or another similar action.
  • Waiting period waiver: If the parties agree to a change before the three years elapse, a judge may approve that modification in some circumstances.

Once again, any informal, out-of-court agreements are not enforceable. Once entered, a modification to a child support order may be retroactive to the date the petition was filed, but not to the date the circumstances changed.

Contact Our New Braunfels, Texas Post-Divorce Modification Lawyer

When children are involved, a family law case is an ongoing matter. If you believe that changes should be made to your child custody or child support orders, an experienced lawyer can provide invaluable assistance and legal representation during court proceedings. For a free consultation with an attorney who helps families overcome the legal and financial obstacles in their paths, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404. We represent individuals and families throughout South Central Texas.

Back to Top