If your child has experienced a change in his or her circumstances, you may be considering modifying the terms of support, visitation, or child custody.
Under Texas law, it is possible for modifications to be made, however a parent must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in the child’s or parent’s circumstances to warrant the amendment.
An attorney experienced with child custody issues can assist you in navigating the modification process required by the court system.
Proving the need for modification
In order to prove that an amendment to the child custody agreement is needed, you must demonstrate at least one of a number of criteria has been met.
One option is to prove that the circumstances of the child and the parents have changed to such a degree that the original agreement is no longer viable.
If the child is at least 18 years old and wants a change, he or she can privately petition the judge for modification.
Another way to prove that a change is needed is if a parent has given the care of the child over to another individual for at least six months.
Other circumstances that can lead to a change in custody include parental relocation, neglect, abuse, dangerous or unhealthy environment, and drug or alcohol use.
Modifying child support
According to the Texas Attorney General, there are several instances in which child support can be modified.
In general, the support agreement can be changed if it has been over three years since the original, or previously modified, order was enacted and the monthly payments differ by at least 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be granted by the most current child support guidelines.
Another instance that can facilitate change is if there have been significant changes in circumstances since the previous agreement was ordered.
Changes that are considered to be significant include an increase or decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income, if the noncustodial parent is now legally responsible for other children, and changes in your child’s medical coverage or living arrangements.
The amount of child support to be paid can only be changed by a court order. The court does not recognize informal agreements between parents with regard to the amount of child support that is required to be paid.
Modifying custody or child support can be an extremely complicated and difficult process so the help of a local Texas attorney with experienced in family law can be indispensable.