Austin Family Law Attorney
When a couple has their marriage terminated, terms will be set either through their agreement or the verdict of the court. These final terms must be adhered to or legal ramifications can ensue. Circumstances change though, and an adjustment may be necessary. This is common for many divorced couples that have had their lives changed dramatically since the divorce. Modifications can be sought for child support, alimony, child custody and visitation. One of the parties may lose their job and be unable to make the high payments while still supporting themselves. Other times, the needs of a child may grow and a parent can need further assistance from the other parent in terms of child support.
Making Changes to Your Divorce Agreement
Changes should never be implemented on your own and the court will need to be petitioned for the change to be taken into consideration. Even if your former spouse is willing to grant your request, it is necessary to get the approval of the judge because failure to abide by the decree of divorce can result in charges of contempt of court. If your former spouse later decides to go back to the original arrangement, you will not have any recourse for enforcing the agreement. You can also get in trouble if you have failed to pay the amount of support you owe.
An attorney from our firm will meet with you to review every aspect of your situation in order to develop an effective strategy for themodification of your child support agreement, the modificaiton of your child custody agreement, or something else.. The court will not grand a modification based on a frivolous petition, so it is important that you have documentation to support your modification request, and evidence of its necessity. If you have suffered a significant pay reduction or a job loss that has made it impossible for you to keep up your alimony or child support payments, you should seek a modification as soon as possible. Otherwise you run the risk of getting wrapped up in difficult contempt issues such as wage garnishment, driver's license suspension and arrest.
It is also possible for the recipient of child support to request a larger payment if the child's financial needs have increased. All of these issues are measured against §156.401 of the Texas Family Code, which states that the court may modify an order that provides for the support of a child, including an order for health care coverage under 154.182 if:
- The circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier date of the order;
- The circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based;
- It has been 3 years since the order or modification and the monthly amount of the child support differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines;
- If the parties a agree to an order in which the amount of child support differs from the amount that would have been granted under the Texas Family Code, and only if the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have substantially changed since the order;
- The release of a parent from incarceration is considered a material and substantial change in circumstances if their obligation was abated, reduced or suspended during their term of incarceration.
An Austin divorce attorney from Menduni Martindill, PLLC is ready to help you pursue a modification for any aspect of your divorce decree, so call today for a consultation!