A Houston Divorce Lawyer Explains The Different Reasons Why Your Divorce Decree Should Be Modified
Even when couples get along, divorce is a very unpleasant experience. No matter how painful it is, dissolving a marriage legally means having to litigate with your spouse when it comes to your family, finances and other aspects. That is why it is so important to have a good divorce lawyer in Houston Texas. In the state of Texas, the terms are set by the court and they are deemed to be final when the divorce process ends. However, certain situations might bring up the final divorce decree (or a suit that affects the parent-child relationship) so that it is questioned in the post-divorce period. Texas law does allow for divorce decrees to be modified it both parties make the mutual decision to change the terms or there have been substantial and material changes in the circumstances of a child or one of the parties.
Justifying A Modification: Changed Circumstances or Mutal Agreement
Mutual Agreement: For both parties, divorce is a very emotional time. The final resolution is often influenced by strong feelings. When there has been enough distance and time, sometimes former spouses are able to work together to mutually decide to change some of the terms in their divorce decree. A petition is made by both parties in the state of Texas for a modification that has been agreed up in a way that is legally acceptable to change the original divorce’s previous “final” terms. Substantial and material changes in circumstances: Modifications are allowed for under Texas law is if there have been significant changes in circumstances for the marriage, the child, or one partner. For example, the spousal maintenance terms might be modified by the court if a paying spouse loses their job. Parties may also ask for a modification due to a life-altering event such as a move or remarriage. No matter what the situation is, a court is more likely to make modifications to continual financial obligations like alimony rather than debt distributions or property divisions. If the following applies a court might also modify the child support order: If it has been three years since an order was last modified or rendered and the monthly child support award amount under the order is different by either $100 or 20 percent from that amount that would have been awarded under the child support guidelines.
What May Be Modified?
Before discussing what may be modified, let’s first talk about what cannot be changed. Martial property divisions are not changed by courts. All that is allowed to be modified by the Texas Family Code are custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
Spousal Maintenance Modification
In the state of Texas, spouse maintenance terms only can be modified after there has been a property showing of a substantial and material change in circumstances. The final decree in some cases will be prescribed for alimony on a sliding scale, which slowly decreases who much support a receiving spouse is given. Sometimes the receiving spouse experiences an improvement in their financial circumstances, like a significant increase in material wealth or income. They might end up living with a long-term partner or remarry. If a receiving spouse doesn’t need the alimony any longer, then spousal maintenance will be terminated by the court. however, the spouse maintenance amount that is paid might be decreased by the court due to involuntary reductions in pay or job loss.
It is recognized by Texas law that circumstances may change. A child support order’s terms might be modified by the court if the modification is in the child’s best interest or a substantial and material changes in circumstance has occurred for the child or a party. For example, when a child becomes seriously ill and has additional expenses, then the court might consider that to be a factor that increases the amount of child support. Or if there is another child for the paying party to support after a final order has been signed, the child support obligations of the paying party might be reduced. A child support order might also be modified by the court if it has been at least three years since an order was last modified or rendered and the monthly child support award amount under the order is at least 20 percent different.
A modification might also be granted by the court to the possession and conservatorship terms as well as access to a child. There is a high burden of proof, since the party who is a seeking a modification is required to show that there have been substantial and material changes in circumstances of the child or conservator, or a child 12 years or older must tell the court that the individual who their primary conservator should be, or if their primary parent voluntarily relinquishes the primary possession and care.