Achieving the best results for your future in Houston, TX
When a divorce is finalized, the judge issues several orders in the divorce decree that pertain to the matters decided upon. The divorce decree dissolves the marriage, and typically cannot be modified unless there are significant changes in the life of either party that affects spousal maintenance, child support, or child custody.
Even if your divorce goes through mediation, a successful mediation results in a Mediated Settlement Agreement. There will be final orders to document regardless of how your divorce concluded. The Final Divorce Decree covers every order that was agreed to or decided by the judge in your case.
The Final Divorce Decree contains all the orders you and your spouse will abide by regarding your children, finances, the marital home, retirement funds, and other matters decided in a divorce. It’s a specific and detailed document that may require modifications as your life evolves post-divorce. As life changes, modifications may be necessary.
Modifications allow former spouses to make changes to the divorce decree when there is a major change in the lives of either spouse. Petitions to modify a divorce decree can be made by filing a motion for modification to the court.
What can be modified after a divorce is finalized in Houston, TX?
Spousal Maintenance Modification in Houston, TX
While spouses in Texas generally do not receive spousal support aside from child support, some divorce decrees provide for spousal maintenance. These orders are restricted to a period of time that depends on the specific circumstances. Thus, a former spouse may be ordered to pay the other spouse a certain amount of money for a specific number of months or years after the divorce. It’s up to the court to determine how long spousal maintenance will last, and how much the former spouse will receive.
Maintenance orders can be modified when either former spouse shows a material and substantial life change. For example, the court may reduce spousal maintenance if the former spouse receiving maintenance finds employment or overcomes a disability. If the former spouse paying maintenance has their income reduced, it can also lead to adjustments in spousal maintenance.
Child Support Modification in Houston, TX
Few circumstances may lead to the modification of child support in Texas. However, child support payments may be changed if:
- The circumstances of the child or parent have materially and substantially changed since the court issued the order.
- It has been three years since the order was rendered or modified and the monthly payment differs by 20% or $100 from the amount that would comply with Texas child support guidelines.
The court may also consider a salary increase for the parent paying child support or an increase in the child’s needs to increase child support payments.
Modifications to Child Custody and Visitation Agreements in Houston, TX
Modifications to child custody and visitation agreements are possible. The parties seeking the modification must prove that a material and substantial change warrants a modification. Changes that can affect child custody and visitation may include:
- Relocation of either of the parents
- Children expressing that they want to live with the other parent once they reach 12 years of age
- Improvement in the life of the parent who was not awarded visitation rights or custody
- Voluntary relinquishment on behalf of the parent with primary care
- Domestic violence or criminal activity
The court will only approve a modification to child custody and visitation as long as it is in the child’s best interest.
Work with a Houston Divorce Modification Lawyer for Best Results
Are you looking to reduce the amount of spousal maintenance you owe your former spouse? Have your child’s needs changed and you now require more support to raise him or her? With an attorney by your side, it’s possible to have your needs considered in court and modify a divorce decree.
At Stepp & Sullivan, PC, we have more than 70 years of experience navigating family law issues with our clients. We strive to achieve the best results possible so you can have a positive future post-divorce. Call (713) 336-7200 for a consultation or complete our contact form.