Can I Modify My Divorce Decree in Texas?
Now that you’re divorced, you find that you need to modify your Divorce Decree due to changes in your circumstances, but you're unsure if this is possible. Modifications to divorce decrees are permitted under Texas law when both former spouses agree to the changes or when there have been material and substantial changes to the circumstances of one or both parties or a child.
Are you looking for a “divorce attorney near me” in Texas because you have questions about whether you can have your Divorce Decree modified? Continue reading as our divorce attorneys from Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, discuss this in more detail.
Material and Substantial Changes in Circumstances
To modify any part of a divorce decree, an individual must have a valid reason. In Texas, divorce modifications will usually only be considered for those who have experienced a material and substantial change in circumstances. The most commonly modified orders in Texas are spousal support, child support, and child custody.
What Qualifies as a Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Any change in the family dynamic that may necessitate the modification of an existing court order is referred to as a "material and substantial change." The facts and circumstances of the case determine whether a change is material and substantial. Some common examples include:
- A parent cannot care for their child due to serious health complications
- A parent remarries (including new stepparent and new siblings)
- A parent's employment changes (including unemployment, underemployment, and new employment/promotion)
- A parent has alcohol or drug abuse problems
- Incidents of child maltreatment and neglect
- The conviction of a parent for domestic violenc
- A parent has been found guilty of a serious crime
- Changes in the child's age and requirements
- Changes in custody and support costs
Spousal Support Modification
Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance, is a continuing financial obligation one former spouse owes the other. It can significantly impact one or both parties' financial well-being. Modifications are permitted since a person's ability to pay spousal support can be affected by a change in circumstances.
To be eligible for a modification, a party must demonstrate a material and substantial change in circumstances, such as job loss and unemployment, substantial involuntary reductions in income, significant injury or disability, or other events that result in substantial changes in financial circumstances. In some instances, divorce decrees may include a "sliding" support scale that gradually reduces the recipient spouse's payments. When a former spouse cohabits with another individual or remarries, spousal support can also be terminated
Child Support Modification
Along with material and substantial changes, Texas courts may also permit modifications to child support orders following the original decision or last modification. This can relate to differences in payments from when the order was first issued, a substantial change in income for the non-custodial parent or failure to comply with financial obligations.
If the amount of the support paid exceeds or falls below the original sums in the guidelines, a Texas judge may request proof of material and substantial changes before modifying the terms of the order. A divorce lawyer will be able to review your case to see if changes to child support are possible.
Child Custody Modification
The terms of conservatorship (custody), possession, and access to a child (visitation) can be modified after a divorce. However, parties seeking a modification must show that the change is material and substantial. This can include, among other things, relocations and move-aways, children expressing a desire to live with a new parent, improvements in the lives of parents who were initially denied visitation or custody, domestic violence or criminal activity, and voluntary relinquishment.
The courts will only approve custody and visitation arrangements modifications if they are in the child's best interests.
Can Property Modifications Be Made?
It can be challenging, if not impossible, to change property provisions once your Divorce Decree is finalized. For example, if you and your ex-spouse agreed to keep separate retirement accounts, you can't later ask for a larger share of their retirement pie because you discovered it was worth a lot more than yours.
However, there may be other options for resolving specific property division issues following a divorce. When reviewing your specific circumstances, our legal team can assist you in determining whether you can do so.
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC: Your “Family Divorce Lawyers Near Me” in Travis County, Texas
At Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, our legal team is here to help you modify the terms of your Divorce Decree and answer any questions you may have. With offices in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, our law firm is familiar with the Texas divorce process and has years of experience advocating for our clients’ rights in divorce court.
Copyright © 2022. Kimbrough Legal, PLLC. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.