Modifications

Modifications of any order regarding a child may be granted upon showing that there has been substantial change in circumstances since entry of the last order. These changes can include increases or decreases in income, changes in residency, marital status, new challenges that a child may be facing, work schedules, and more.

Once a Texas court assumes authority over the best interest of a child, that court retains the right to make any future decision about the child until another court acquires the right to make such decisions. Once the child has lived in a different Texas county for at least six months, the right to make decisions about the child can, and should, be transferred to the court serving that county. However, this transfer must be requested. If the transfer is not requested in a timely manner, the right to a transfer can be waived.

If the current court order was created by the court of another state, Texas will grant full faith and credit to that court order. This means that a Texas court will acknowledge and respect that order, and only change the order if specific conditions are met. Unless emergency conditions exist that require immediate action for the safety and welfare of the child, a Texas court will not change the orders of another state until it is established that Texas is now the “Home State” of the child and the original court no longer claims continuing jurisdiction or it is shown that none of the parties to the case still reside in that state.

A Texas court may lose the right to modify a custody, visitation and support order if the child and both parents have lived in another state for at least six months. A Texas court will lose the right to modify a custody, visitation and support order if the parents re-marry after the final order is signed.

Any person who is affected by the order can ask the court to modify the order. Before the court can grant a modification, it must find:
that the modification is in the best interest of the child; and
that the circumstances of the child, a conservator or a party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the order was signed by the court.
The court can change or modify the current child support order if the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed. The order can also be changed if it has been in effect for over three years and applying the above guidelines would increase or decrease the support obligation by $100 or 20%.

The court cannot change a child support obligation in the past. It can only change future support obligations. If you need a change, you must file your petition immediately.

The courts have identified several events that amount to a material and substantial change. Marriage to another person can be a material and substantial change. A change in residence, age, medical condition, employment, or criminal history can be found by the court to be a material and substantial change.

The process to modify a current court order affecting custody, visitation or support begins with a petition to the court asking for the modification. You will need the assistance of a lawyer to file a proper petition. The attorneys at Kevin J. Schmid and Associates are highly experienced in handling modification actions. Once the petition is filed and served, the court can enter temporary orders if properly requested and supported by the evidence. If the modification is agreed to by the other party, the process can be completed relatively quickly.