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What Does the End of Your Family Law Case Mean for You and Your Family?

What Does the End of Your Family Law Case Mean for You and Your Family?

In the end of your family law case, you and your family embark on a new chapter. This pivotal moment signifies more than just a legal resolution; it heralds a period of adaptation and transformation. Understanding the implications of the case’s outcome is crucial for everyone involved. Whether it’s adjusting to new living arrangements, financial shifts, or emotional transitions, this phase is about redefining family dynamics and fostering resilience.

You may be left wondering where your situation goes from here. Sure, your case is done and wrapped up, but what are the chances you could be back before a judge to discuss these matters in the future? How long do these orders stay in effect? Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will address and answer these questions for you.

The Future of Your Child Custody Order

Whether you have a child custody order due to a divorce, modification, enforcement, or child custody case, you should know that these orders will remain in effect until your child reaches the age of eighteen or has graduated from high school, whichever happens later. There is an important distinction here.

For example, a few years ago, our office represented a client who filed an enforcement case against her ex-husband. He refused to pay child support for his daughter, convinced his responsibility ended in January when she turned 18 years old. He failed to read the order correctly, which told him he was on the hook for child support until May she graduated from high school. It was not until he hired an attorney and explained this distinction to him that we were able to settle out of court.

If your child has a disability of some sort, you and your child’s other parent would be able to agree to your paying child support beyond high school graduation/age 18. A court cannot force you to pay support beyond age 18 or graduation from high school.

Many clients have asked me whether or not a judge can order their spouse to pay for college if we were to go to a trial. The answer is no. You must agree to this arrangement and settle either in mediation or before trial.

Understanding Post-Judgment Motions: Navigating the Possibility of a New Trial in Family Law Cases

What Does the End of Your Family Law Case Mean for You and Your Family?

Take a deep breath once a judge signs your order, but remember, it’s not necessarily the end. Either you or your opposing party can file a motion for a new trial within thirty days after the signing of your order. While there are only a few reasons that justify granting such a motion, filing it and securing a hearing is relatively easier. This means if your ex-spouse files a motion for a new trial, you might need your attorney to represent you. However, it’s unlikely for them to succeed in winning the motion.

Did the judge deviate from the law? Proving a judge’s misconduct in a family law case is challenging due to the significant reliance on their judgment. If your judge adheres to the law, they will likely overrule your motion. You can still disagree with this outcome, though.

If You Don’t Like the Order, Can You Change It Later?

After a court order is issued in a family law case, altering it isn’t straightforward. Particularly in Texas, the grounds for modification require a substantial and material change in circumstances, either in your child’s life or that of the involved parties. This isn’t about simply disagreeing with the original order; it’s about demonstrating significant shifts in life situations.

A frequent scenario for seeking modifications involves child support adjustments. Texas law mandates that for a change in child support, there must be a significant alteration in income, enough to affect the support by 20% or $100. If, for instance, your ex-partner claims your income has surged, they need to present solid evidence of this increase to justify a modification.

Understand that modification cases are neither quick nor effortless. They can be as challenging, if not more, than the initial custody or divorce proceedings. These cases often reopen old wounds and reignite past disputes, making them emotionally taxing. Although settling these matters outside court, ideally through mutual agreement, is preferable, emotional complexities might impede this process.

Before initiating a modification case, review your divorce decree or original custody order. Many times, these documents mandate mediation before proceeding with legal action. This step could be a beneficial alternative, potentially resolving disputes more efficiently and economically than a full-blown modification case.

An Enforcement Case Explained

You and the other party in your family law case must follow the outlined orders. If either of you breaks these rules, the aggrieved party can file an enforcement suit in the court that issued the orders.

In the enforcement hearing, the filing party presents evidence to the judge, detailing the specific order violation and its circumstances. They can also propose punishments for the violator.

If your ex-spouse violates the terms of your divorce decree, especially regarding child support or medical support, they risk facing severe consequences, such as jail time or probation. Nevertheless, you can often resolve many enforcement issues without going to court. By hiring an attorney to file your enforcement motion, you can negotiate a settlement with your ex-spouse before the hearing.

The essential aspect of enforcement to remember is that minor violations might deserve some time for the violator to amend their actions. Consider the significant time and financial commitment required for court proceedings, and approach them with careful deliberation.

If you engage in a conversation with your ex-spouse about the ongoing issues, you might find a solution that avoids court entirely.

Questions about post-judgment legal issues? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

What Does the End of Your Family Law Case Mean for You and Your Family?

If you have any questions about going back to court after your family law case has concluded, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. It may be that you do not even need to see the judge again if a reasonable settlement can be worked out. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week.

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