When a family law judge enters or approves a custody order or child support order, both parents in the family typically have to abide by the terms in that document. Those who violate custody or support orders could very well find themselves facing enforcement actions brought by the other parent or possibly by the state of Texas, particularly in scenarios involving past-due child support.
As someone paying or receiving child support or sharing parental responsibilities with someone else, you can potentially petition the courts for a modification of the original order. Unfortunately, state law specifically imposes penalties for those who bring frivolous requests.
When can you feel confident about meeting the qualifications for a legitimate modification request?
There must be evidence of a significant change
If you read the state law relating to the modification of child-related court orders, the law is very clear. Any interested party can potentially file a motion if they can show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances.
One parent changing jobs and therefore having a vastly different schedule or income level could be a change significant enough to warrant a modification request. One parent demonstrating serious mental health issues or developing an issue with substance abuse significant and material change in circumstances.
Any relevant factors that would have influenced how the courts ruled that change can potentially lead to viable grounds for a modification hearing request. Even changes in your health or your relationship with your children could also be significant enough to warrant a change in your support order or custody arrangements.
You don’t have to litigate every post-decree modification
Parents who have begun working cooperatively as co-parents following a divorce may eventually reach a point where they have an easier time working cooperatively with one another again. Once you read in your relationship, you and actually agree on the terms of a custody modification or support modification and submit uncontested paperwork to the courts.
It is typically only in contested cases where litigation is necessary where allegations of frivolousness could lead to expenses for the person who files. When the parents agree that an update is necessary, the modification process is often straightforward. If you can cooperate, doing so can make keeping your parenting plans up to date a much simpler process.
Even if you have to litigate, knowing that certain changes would benefit your children might motivate you to take that step and update your support for parenting plan accordingly. Learning more about what to expect when modifying an existing family law decree will help those navigating shared custody in Texas.