What Are the Requirements for a Modification?

Court orders regarding family legal issues are not always built to last. When families change and grow, it is expected that existing court orders might need to be amended. Between child custody agreements, visitation schedules, child support, and spousal support, it is likely that these rigid orders might need to be adjusted. Whether you’ve decided to relocate or you’ve been laid off, serious life changes like these usually warrant modifications. However, not every minor change justifies a legal modification of a court order.

Circumstances That Allow for Modifications

If you need to make a change to your child support, child custody, or spousal support, you will need to make sure you qualify. First, if these agreements were the result of a divorce, you may not seek a modification until the divorce is finalized. After your divorce, you might undergo some significant lifestyle changes, which can sometimes lead you to require a modification. However, anyone with any of these family law orders may need to seek a modification after the initial order was decided.

Individuals may be eligible for a child support modification in any of the following situations:

  • Experienced a material and substantial change – Job Loss
  • Experienced a material and substantial change – Legally responsible for more children
  • 3 years have elapsed since the last order and the amount of the child support that would be awarded differs by 20% or $100.00

An example for persons who pay spousal maintenance or alimony that is under Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code. For example, if a receiving spouse cohabitates with another person, he or she is no longer eligible to receive alimony under the Texas Family Code. However, remarriage will likely not affect child custody or child support unless the paying parent is now legally responsible for more children.

The court may evaluate all of the factors that determined child custody initially in order to find a new custody agreement or visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child. Likewise, for modifications to child support or spousal support, you can request a decrease, increase, or elimination of payments.

If you have experienced a serious change in circumstances and you want to modify your family law court order, we can help. Contact Phillip M. Herr, Attorney at Law to discuss your options with our firm.