There are times when it is necessary to seek a change to court orders like those pertaining to child custody and child support. The original court order may have been unfair or unworkable from the beginning. Or, the circumstances the original court order was based on may change. Circumstances could include children growing older, a change in financial situation, or a change in living arrangements.
In such events, a modification to a court order—whether it is custody, support, or visitation rights—may be necessary. Rashelle Fetty, a Colleyville lawyer with extensive experience in family law, can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the process.
Child Support Modification
Texas state law dictates that your child support order is eligible for modification if at least one of the following conditions are met:
- It’s been more than three years since the establishment of the order or last modification
- The monthly amount of the order differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded based upon guidelines
- A “material and substantial” change has occurred since the last child support order.
A “material and substantive change” is applies if one of these situations are true:
- Changes in the income of the parent that doesn’t have custody
- Additional children that become the legal responsibility of the parent that doesn’t have custody
- Changes in the child’s medical insurance coverage
- The child is now living with a different parent
Rashelle Fetty and the Fetty Firm will elaborate on these stipulations and help you submit a review request to the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. Please note further:
- Child support orders can only change through an in-person hearing (Child Support Review Process) or a court hearing
- Informal agreements between the parents made outside of Review hearing or court hearing do not change the original court order
Child Custody Modifications
Texas law allows either parents to file a child custody modification petition at any time; so long as it is filed in the court that granted the divorce originally. If the child has moved, the petition may be filed in the child’s new county of residence.
If both parties agree that a custody modification is in order, a proposal must be submitted to the court. The court reviews the proposal, often approves it, and it becomes legally enforceable.
However, if both parties do not agree on the need for modification, it then becomes an extensive litigation process. The law stipulates that the petitioning parent must demonstrate that:
- The child is at least 12 years old and wishes to live with the other parent
- Material and substantial change (such as job loss, job relocation, income, abuse and neglect, substance abuse, or medical condition)
- A change in the order would be in the best interest of the child
Rashelle Fetty and the Fetty Firm has the experience to help you navigate through the modification process, whether you are the petitioning parent or if you are the parent wanting to maintain the current order.