Lake Jackson Modification Lawyers
Results-Driven and Compassionate Representatives
JM Davis Law PLLC is a results-driven law firm fighting for clients facing family-related issues, which will require experienced and compassionate representation. Our firm is especially equipped to help you request modification of existing orders, such as child custody, child support, or alimony, as the modification process requires attentive legal representation with specific experience in the aforementioned family matters. JM Davis Law PLLC has been championing our clients’ custody, child support, and alimony cases for years, so you can trust that we have the experience and knowledge you need to bring an aggressive fight for change in court.
Modifying a Custody Order
One important type of family order that may warrant modification is a child custody order. In certain circumstances, a Texas court may grant a request for modification of such an order. More specifically, a court will only permit a modification if:
- the circumstances of the child or conservator (usually one or both parents) have materially and substantially changed since either the date of the current order or of a signed settlement agreement (whichever is earlier);
- the child is at least 12 years old and has expressed a preference to the court as to the person they wish to live with; or
- the custodial parent has voluntarily relinquished the primary care and possession of the child to another person for at least 6 months.
Note that “material and substantial” changes could be if one of the parents has remarried, a medical condition has impacted a parent’s ability to care for the child, a parent has changed residence, or there has been an incident of child abuse or domestic violence.
To request a change to an existing conservatorship order, the petitioning parent must file a Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship with the Texas court. The other parent, or the respondent, can either agree to the request or disagree. From there, the case will proceed to court, which can either be a quick process in uncontested cases or lengthier one in contested situations. If a parent believes their child may possibly be in danger, such as due to child abuse or neglect, they can ask the court for an emergency custody order or temporary restraining order (TRO) while they wait for the modification request to be heard and approved.
Modifying a Child Support Order
Another important family order that can be modified is child support. A parent can ask a court or the Texas Attorney General’s Office to review their standing child support order at any time if either parent experiences a material and substantial change in circumstances, which usually entails a significant shift in custody, job loss, or international relocation. The threshold for such a change in circumstances will be lower if an order has been in place for 3 years or more.
Note that a child support order may be modified only if:
- the order was established/last modified more than 3 years ago;
- the monthly amount of the child support order differs by either 20% or by $100 from the amount that would be awarded; or
some other material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred
since the child support order was last set:
- the noncustodial parent's income has increased or decreased;
- the noncustodial parent is legally responsible for additional children;
- the child’s medical insurance coverage has changed; or
- the child is now living with a different parent.
To request a change to a child support order, a parent can either pursue an in-office negotiation (referred to as the Child Support Review Process, or CSRP) or pursue a court hearing. Informal agreements between parents will not legally change the court-ordered amount.
Modifying Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is another type of divorce support order that can be modified in certain situations. In Texas, the court can modify a spousal maintenance order if, like modification requests for custody and child support, there has been a material and substantial change of circumstances since the last order. A spouse can petition for a change in the support amount or duration, which must be reviewed and approved by a judge before the modification can go into effect. Note that failure to comply with a court order is a serious offense and may result in severe penalties, including attorney's fees, bank liens, or even jail time. Supported spouses who aren’t receiving court-ordered payments can file a formal request with the court for help enforcing the order.
Questions? Contact JM Davis Law PLLC.
If you seek to modify an existing family-related order, such as one related to child custody, child support, or alimony, contact an experienced modification lawyer to discuss your next steps. Our attorneys at JM Davis Law PLLC have years of professional experience representing clients in various areas of family-related matters, so you can trust that we have the knowledge and skill necessary to fight for your modification requests for family legal issues.