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Modification Of Custody And Support Orders

Child custody and support, along with spousal support, are common areas of family law that require attention repeatedly over time. A divorce decree or a child custody order does not stop the flow of life’s natural evolution. You, your child’s other parent or both of you may experience changes in income, health, location or other factors that make a child custody or support modification necessary.

Likewise, a spousal support arrangement may become inappropriate when life circumstances change, triggering a proposal to alter or stop the support. For example, the paying spouse may have a drastic health crisis or the receiving spouse may remarry. Those are just two examples of potential justifications for a spousal support modification.

As your financial status or a child’s care needs change, your custody or support order deserves a second look. The most efficient way to learn about your rights and, if warranted, proceed with a court petition is to work closely with an experienced family law attorney. At Rose Sanders Family Law, our lawyers have a great deal of experience helping divorced parents and other clients address the issue of modification. Clients come to our firm throughout Houston, Harris County and other parts of Texas.

Keeping Your Custody Or Support Arrangement Fair And Workable

If either parent plans to move outside of Harris County (or any major distance from the home of the other parent), then a custody and visitation order may become untenable. If one parent lives in Houston and the other moves to San Antonio or out of state, then the established weekly or biweekly rhythm of your custody arrangement may not work, and a modification may become necessary.

You and the other parent may be able to work out a revised parenting time plan, but it is very common for such discussions to result in aggravated disputes. As experienced attorneys handling complex family law cases, our team recommends that you discuss the situation with a lawyer as soon as possible. With your attorney, you can determine the most effective way to arrive at an agreement with the other parent that will work for your family despite distance or other circumstances. Then, if a dispute arises and litigation becomes necessary to resolve the case, you will be well-represented in court.

If spousal support is in question because the receiving spouse is cohabitating with a new partner or planning to remarry or for any other reason, then the paying spouse should get legal advice as soon as possible. Put your doubts to rest quickly and seek a modification in time to avoid paying more support than you should be required to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions We See About Modifications

As children grow and families change, those changes can leave parents with questions. Rose Sanders Family Law provides answers to common questions about modifications.

When can I request a child custody modification?

In Texas, either parent can request a modification to their child custody or support order once every 12 months.

However, it is possible to make changes sooner if parents can prove that they have experienced a substantial change in their circumstances. Some examples include:

  • One parent wants to relocate, and this move would make it difficult for parents to follow their previous parenting plan or visitation arrangement
  • A custodial parent is no longer able to care for the child, and the best way to support the child’s needs is for the other parent to take sole custody
  • The child’s needs have changed, whether due to age or changes in their health

While these changes can create challenges, you must continue to obey the requirements of the existing order while you go through the modification process.

What is the standard possession order in Texas?

In Texas, the standard possession order (SPO) details a schedule for custody. The basic SPO defines specific weekends, evenings and holidays in which the noncustodial parent will have possession of the child.

The SPO outlines a minimum amount of parenting time, but this is not a good fit for every family. Parents or the court may create a different schedule that better reflects that family’s needs and the needs of their minor child.

Can I take someone off child support in Texas?

The court may terminate child support for a variety of different reasons. In addition to a child becoming an adult, child support arrangements may end if the parents’ situation changes significantly, there are changes in custody or if parents agree that support is not necessary. Parents must petition the court to end child support.

Can I modify child support in Texas?

If one parent experiences a significant change in income or receives an inheritance, this may limit their ability to pay the previous amount of child support or give them the opportunity to provide more for their child. When a child’s needs change – for example, if they develop a serious health condition that leads to costly care – that may also change the suitability of the existing child support order. When changes arise, modifications can align a child support order with the parents’ current financial circumstances and the child’s needs.

How long does a child support modification take in Texas?

The amount of time a support modification takes depends on your situation. If both parents agree on the modifications they wish to propose to the court, that agreement can streamline the process. However, if parents disagree with the modifications to their order, the modification process may take months.

Family Law Attorneys Helping Texans With Modifications

Our lawyers realize that you likely hope to resolve the need for a custody or support modification as cost-effectively as you can. Although it can seem burdensome to get legal counsel, it is the best way to protect your parental rights and/or financial stability when a modification is under discussion.

Contact Rose Sanders Family Law to schedule a consultation about your child custody, child support or spousal support modification. Call us at 713-766-9082 or email us directly to reach our Houston law office.