Changing the Conditions of Your Divorce

Things change in life. The mere fact that there has been a divorce is evidence of that – it’s not a thing you plan for when you get married. Sometimes after a divorce, the circumstances of one of the ex-partners change drastically enough to request a reworking of the divorce decree, particularly regarding child support, child custody, or spousal support arrangements.

Texas law requires that any such change must be in the best interest of minor children involved, and that there have been a material and substantial change in circumstances of the child or parent, or that the custodial parent has given custody away to someone for a period of longer than 6 months, or that child age 12 or older has informed the court formally that they wish to change things.

Material and substantial changes include a significant change of income, a parent wanting to relocate far enough away that visitation may be a hardship, new and severe health issues limiting the ability of a parent to carry out parental responsibilities, and one parent beginning to engage in (or to stop engaging in) behaviors that are unsafe for any dependent children.

When this happens, the parent who has requested a change has one year to file an affidavit which includes a formal request stating how the request is in the child’s best interest and providing proof of this.

If the requesting parent and the other parent can work out an agreement ahead of time, that is less stressful and the paperwork goes through relatively smoothly, without the need for a hearing or trial. Even if both parents verbally come to an agreement about changes, it is a good idea to get changes formally agreed to by the court, in case of future disagreements.

There are risks in requesting a modification. The modification may not be granted, and matters between the requestor and their ex-spouse may become more tense. The modification may not be favorable to the requestor, who could end with a more difficult situation.

However, sometimes matters are in a state where one has to try to make positive changes. It is strongly recommended to contact and work with an attorney who is experienced in Texas Family Law.