Fort Worth, Texas Attorneys Assisting You With Your Family Law Matter
A divorce is a life-altering event which has far-flung effects for all involved. And after a divorce is finalized, the parties’ lives may change for better or worse, just as they did during the marriage. The former spouses may experience medical and financial emergencies, changes in residence, changes in income, changes in children’s abilities and needs, and so on. Depending on the life change, it may justify a change in your divorce decree. Whether you are the one seeking a modification or want to prevent one from taking place, The Patrick D. West Law Firm can help you in achieving your objectives.
Obtaining a Post-Judgment Family Law Modification, or Defending Against One
If your life changes are significant enough, they may warrant modification of the divorce judgment. Make sure, if you are the party who would like to see a modification entered, that you are still able to comply with the current order while you are waiting for the judge’s decision. Sometimes circumstances can arise unexpectedly, but for example, if you anticipate no longer being able to make child support changes at the current level, you should seek the modification as soon as possible to avoid being in violation of an existing order.
If you suddenly lost your job or other means of earning income, this may qualify as a material change in circumstance which may justify a reduction in your child support obligation. Do not just stop paying child support or change the amount without a court order authorizing same, as this may place you in arrears and subject you to enforcement proceedings and court sanctions. The converse of this situation might be if one of your children suddenly has increased medical needs, or requires additional financial support for school, extracurricular activities, sports, camp and so forth. In this event, child support might need to be increased, and a court order authorizing such increase will then become necessary.
Even if a parent is behind on child support, however the other parent may not retaliate by violating other provisions of the divorce decree, such as those relating to custody and visitation. Similarly, even if custody or visitation has been wrongfully withheld by one parent, the other parent is not entitled to stop child support payments.
A modification in a child custody or visitation schedule requires a showing to the court that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Additionally, the parent seeking the modification must demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the child or children affected. Modifications may be warranted in additional circumstances as well. These include when a child is over the age of 12 and is prepared to tell the court that he or she wants a change, when the custodial parent has given custody or care of the child to someone else, or it is otherwise in the best interests of the child.
An important distinction to make is that divisions of property are generally not subject to modifications in the way that child custody, visitation and support are. For example, a spouse may have failed to deliver property items to the spouse entitled to receive them. In this case, we can assist you in enforcing the order with respect to the property division. However, spousal support may be subject to modification, and we may assist you in this regard as well.
Let Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys Assist You With Your Modification Matter
If you want a change to a divorce decree, or want to defend against one, it is important not to take matters into your own hands, just as in many aspects of family law. Modification disputes can be highly emotional and you will be making the best decision for yourself and/or your children by letting the attorneys at the Patrick D. West Law Firm handle these disputes for you. Call us at (817) 332-2600 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment if you need assistance with a post-divorce modification or assistance with another type of divorce matter.