A court order is written in stone up until the terms of the original agreement are no longer viewed as reasonable or extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise. There will be instances, for any number of reasons, of a court order being amended or modified later. At this time, you may find yourself able to determine if you are still receiving fair compensation for child support or to decide if the terms of your child custody agreement are still suited to your current family situation.
Common Reasons For Modifying a Court Order
ADJUST CHILD SUPPORT
The amount of child support owed/received may vary based on a party’s present earning power—when sustained over a qualifying period. The amount of child support may also vary in accordance with child-related expenses, including education and medical costs.
ALTER A CHILD CUSTODY AGREEMENT
If one party cannot fulfill their custodian obligations—partial, full, or otherwise—then the custody
agreement may need to be altered. If this is the case, you should always consult an Austin Modifications Lawyer from the Evans Family Law Group about your situation. Doing so will make it easier to alter the child custody agreement and avoid making any mistakes on the paperwork.
Proving a Substantial Change Has Happened
In order for a court order modification to be successful, you will need to prove that a substantial change has happened in either your life, your child’s life, or the life of your former spouse/the other parent. The courts will determine what is considered a substantial change, but there are some common ones that lead to court order modifications, and they include the following:
- Requesting a modification to visitation rights because the custodial parent is moving across the country
- Requesting a modification in child support because there was a significant change in either of the parent’s income
- Changes have occurred in the expenses paid for raising a child due to increased health care costs following an illness or injury, saving for college, or other reasons
- One parent might be taking part in illegal, criminal, or dangerous behavior
- The child might have a preference as to which parent they wish to live
- The home environment of the child might have become toxic
- One of the parents has remarried
How Do I Go About Modifying a Prior Court Order?
A court order may be modified through mediation, or if mediation is not a realistic option, the modification of prior court orders may pass through the court system. Speak with a family lawyer to determine whether you have a reason for modifying an existing court order. If both parties are open to mediation, we typically advise that an agreement be sought in this manner.
It is important to note that you can only modify a prior court order in front of a judge. No one else can approve a modification to the court order except for a judge. You should also continue to follow the prior court order issued by the judge until a new order is issued. Ignoring the court order already in place can lead to penalties and even hurt your request to modify the order.
Who Can File a Modification to a Court Order?
The following people are permitted to file for a court order modification:
- Either parent of the child
- Any other party who is named on the court order
The Texas Attorney General Child Support Division also has the ability to file for a modification of a child support order.
Should you not be named as a party on the court order, you can file a petition with the court to modify the court order in a limited capacity.
It is possible that the judge presiding over the case will issue a temporary order. This is often only done when the judge believes the proposed changes will be in the best interest of the children involved. The temporary order might change just one aspect of the current order, but will do so immediately.
Scheduling a Hearing
If the temporary order is not agreed upon by both parents, a hearing will be scheduled by the court. The hearing is very much like a trial, and you can request a jury be present in some cases. Despite this, the judge will make the final decision about modifying the court order.
Time Limitations on Court Order Modifications
The court might deny a court order modification if the petition is filed less than one year since the current order was filed unless there are narrow situations present.
Law Firm in Austin for the Modification of Court Orders – Evans Family Law Group
The Evans Family Law Group has practiced Family Law in Texas for over 17 years. Our experienced family attorneys are concerned with only one thing: settling legal matters in a non-disruptive, timely fashion that meets your family’s needs. In our experience, modifying prior court orders can often be handled out of court without putting additional stress on your family.
Contact Evans Family Law Group in Austin today for legal counsel to help you do what’s best for your family.