Modifying Your Divorce Decree in Texas

Updating Your Divorce Decree: Embracing Life’s Transformations

So much effort, time, and thought go into creating a Final Decree of Divorce. If you have been through a divorce, you know exactly what I am talking about. From the moment you file your Original Petition until you or your spouse stand before the Judge with the Decree in hand to conclude your case, the process demands patience and a strong will to see it through, often proving stressful.

No Guarantees: Navigating the Unexpected After Divorce

On top of all this, there is no guarantee that the results of your divorce will be anything close to what you wanted to achieve. Strong advocates, like those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, help, but even that is no guarantee.

Mediation: A Last-Ditch Effort to Find Common Ground

Most divorce cases in Texas conclude not with a trial in front of a judge but in mediation. Mediation occurs shortly before your test is scheduled and is essentially a last-ditch effort to attempt to settle your case. You and your attorney will go to a neutral, third-party attorney’s office along with your spouse and their attorney.

The Mediator’s Role: Bridging the Gap

The mediator acts as a ping pong ball, bouncing back between the room where you are and the room where your spouse is to negotiate the issues in your case. A successful mediation session results in a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). Unsuccessful session results in you and your spouse taking your case to the Judge.

The Final Decree of Divorce: Documenting the Path Forward

Regardless of how your divorce concludes, the bottom line is that there will be final orders to document, which is the purpose of your Final Decree of Divorce. It encapsulates every order either agreed to or rendered by the Judge in your case.

Unveiling the Blueprint: Marching Orders for the Future

It contains the marching orders you and your spouse will abide by regarding your children, finances, marital home, retirement funds, etc. It is peculiar and detailed. This is by design. The court does not want any questions about how you must perform to be in accord with your decree. The same rules apply to your spouse.

Embracing Life’s Transformations: The Need to Amend

Times change. As time passes, your Divorce Decree may need to be updated. You get older, your ex-spouse does, and more importantly, your children do. Their circumstances, or yours or theirs, will change inevitably. In the best-case scenario, those changes do not require your Divorce Decree to be changed. However, in some situations, those life changes need to amend your Divorce Decree.

Seeking Change: Modifying Your Divorce Decree

A Modification of your Divorce Decree can be filed in the same court that heard your original divorce. If you believe that the change in circumstances of someone related to that decree has changed so substantially as to merit a modification, then you can do so. This blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will detail the methods of doing so and tips on how best to ensure a successful result for yourself and your family.

In this captivating journey of divorce decree amendments, we’ll explore the ever-changing landscapes of life after divorce. From unexpected twists and turns to the need for adaptability, we’ll guide you through the process of updating your Divorce Decree. So, please grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and get ready to discover the power of embracing life’s transformations as we delve into the art of am

A Substantial Change in Circumstances is needed to justify a modification.

Texas Family Code governs modification cases in our state. Be aware that the law only favors modifications when one of the divorce parties or a child has experienced a substantial change in circumstances since signing the Divorce Decree.

You can file a petition to modify a divorce decree with your divorce court as early as one year after the Judge signed the decree in most cases. In Texas, modifications most commonly involve spousal support, child support, and child custody orders. Let’s explore each subject in more detail.

Modifying a Spousal Maintenance Order

In Texas, people commonly refer to “Spousal Maintenance” as “alimony” in other states. If your marriage lasted over ten years or if domestic violence occurred within two years of your divorce, the court might order spousal maintenance. Other situations that merit the spousal maintenance award are if you have a disability that causes you not to work or if you are caring for a child with disabilities.

If you can show a material and substantial change in circumstances- of either yourself or your ex-spouse- you may be able to modify your orders regarding spousal maintenance. Suppose you are the spouse on the hook for paying spousal maintenance. For example, if you pay spousal maintenance, you might eliminate the order if you prove that your ex-spouse is no longer disabled or if your ex-spouse cohabitates with an adult in a sexual relationship.

Spousal Support Modification Factors


Change in Financial Circumstances

– Loss of job

– Increase in income

– Significant change in financial obligations

Attainment of Milestones

– Completion of education or training



Duration Modification Options

– Decrease or termination of spousal support<br>- Extension of spousal support

– Adjustment of spousal support amount based on new circumstances

Modifying a Child Support Order

You can modify child support orders in Texas if the child’s circumstances or any party to the divorce have undergone a material and substantial change since the order’s signing. The monthly amount of child support differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount in accord with the child support guidelines contained in the Texas Family Code.

Has your ex-spouse’s salary increased, allowing them to pay more monthly support?

Have your child’s needs significantly grown since the order, justifying a modification? On the other hand- has your ex-spouse allowed your child to live with you primarily? If so, you have the right to request a change eliminating your requirement to pay support as a result.

Child Custody Modification

The Texas Family Code uses the terms “possession” or “access” instead of “custody.” In most cases, you and your ex-spouse are either the managing conservator of your child or the possessory conservator.

The managing conservator determines your child’s primary residence and has the right to receive child support. The possessory conservator has a visitation schedule set up for them and has the right to pay child support.

You or your spouse can seek to modify a Divorce Decree regarding possession or access if your child’s circumstances or those of either party have materially and substantially changed since the order’s signing. If your child is at least twelve, you can file a motion for the child to speak with the Judge in their chambers about their preference for who should have the right to determine their primary residence.

Finally, whichever parent, you or your ex-spouse, has this right to determine the child’s primary residence may voluntarily relinquish the title of primary caregiver to the other parent for at least six months. If this occurs, the parent who gains primary caregiver status may file a motion to modify the divorce decree to name him or herself as the child’s primary conservator.

Amending Your Divorce Decree: Unlocking New Possibilities

Finalizing the decree can bring relief and closure when it comes to divorce. However, life is ever-changing, and circumstances can shift over time, necessitating modifications to your divorce decree. This comprehensive article will explore the process of amending a divorce decree in detail. From property division to spousal support and child custody to visitation schedules, we will unravel the various aspects that can be modified to adapt to new realities. So, let’s embark on this journey of understanding and discovering your options.

Modifying Property Division: Adapting to Unforeseen Changes

Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may alter. This may reveal hidden assets or significant changes that warrant revisiting the property division stipulated in your divorce decree. While most discussions around modifications revolve around spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody, modifying property division orders is an important aspect often overlooked. We’ll explore how changes in circumstances can impact the division of assets and shed light on the possibilities within property division modification.

Modifying Visitation Schedules: Nurturing Healthy Parent-Child Relationships

Work schedules, relocations, or the evolving preferences of children can all influence the need to modify visitation arrangements outlined in the divorce decree. Child custody modifications often come up, but let’s focus on the specific adjustments required for visitation schedules. Delving into the intricacies of modifying visitation schedules, we’ll uncover the importance of maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship and ensuring the well-being of the children involved.

Relocation Issues: Seeking New Horizons After Divorce

Life takes us on unexpected journeys, and after a divorce, you may need to relocate to a different geographical area. However, when children are involved, relocation cases require seeking court permission and potentially modifying existing custody and visitation arrangements. We’ll navigate the complexities of relocation issues, exploring the legal requirements and considerations when seeking to modify your divorce decree due to a change in your geographical circumstances.

Modification of Parenting Plans: Adapting to Changing Family Dynamics

Parenting plans encompass various factors, including decision-making authority, communication protocols, and dispute-resolution mechanisms. While modifying possession or access is commonly discussed, it’s equally important to consider modifying other elements of the parenting plan. By understanding the potential need for adapting parenting plans, we can ensure the children’s best interests and maintain a supportive co-parenting dynamic.

Element of Parenting Plan

Potential Modifications

Decision-Making Authority

– Adjusting decision-making roles based on the changing needs and abilities of each parent.<br>- Revisiting the areas of decision-making authority to better align with the child’s best interests as they grow and develop.<br>- Considering shared decision-making or sole decision-making based on the changing circumstances.

Communication Protocols

– Updating communication methods, such as transitioning from in-person meetings to phone calls or virtual communication if geographical distances are involved.<br>- Establishing guidelines for effective and respectful communication, especially in cases where conflict arises.<br>- Modifying the frequency or method of communication to accommodate changing schedules or logistics.

Dispute Resolution

– Reviewing and adjusting the methods of resolving disputes, such as considering mediation or alternative dispute resolution processes when disagreements arise.<br>- Modifying the escalation procedures to align with the changing dynamics between parents and the child’s evolving needs.<br>- Revisiting the inclusion of parenting coordinators or professionals to aid in resolving disputes.

Enforcement of Divorce Decree: Upholding the Court’s Orders

Understanding the options for enforcing a divorce decree allows you to navigate challenges and ensure that both parties fulfill their obligations. While adhering to the divorce decree is crucial, sometimes one party fails to comply with the court’s orders. In such situations, awareness of the available enforcement mechanisms is essential. We’ll shed light on the enforcement methods and offer insights into resolving disputes that may arise post-divorce.

Modifying Spousal Support Duration: Adjusting to Changing Financial Realities

Spousal support modifications often focus on the amount of support, but what about the duration? Changes in financial circumstances or the attainment of certain milestones can warrant a modification to the duration of spousal support payments. We’ll dive deeper into the possibility of modifying the duration of spousal support and how it can provide opportunities for both parties to adapt to their evolving financial realities.

Post-Divorce Modifications: Recognizing the Passage of Time

Life doesn’t stop after the divorce decree is finalized. Months or even years later, circumstances may change significantly, requiring modifications to the existing divorce decree. By acknowledging the potential for seeking modifications long after the divorce, individuals can ensure that their legal agreements align with their current realities. We’ll explore the options available for post-divorce modifications, providing insights into navigating this process effectively.

Mediation as a Method for Modification: Resolving Disputes Together

Mediation is commonly associated with settling divorce cases but can also be a valuable tool for modifying existing divorce decrees. We can uncover alternative approaches to resolving disputes and reaching agreements by exploring the possibilities of using mediation for modifications. We’ll delve into the benefits of mediation and highlight how it can facilitate successful modifications to the original divorce decree.

We’ll provide practical guidance and insights into the legal framework surrounding divorce decree amendments. While this article provides a general overview of modification topics, it’s essential to delve into the specific legal requirements and procedures involved in filing for and obtaining modifications. Understanding the necessary steps, timelines, and documentation for initiating a modification process can empower you to confidently navigate the legal landscape.

Impact of Modifications on Child Support Calculations: Ensuring Fair Support

Child support modification is briefly mentioned, but it’s crucial to understand how modifications can affect the calculation of child support payments. By comprehending the impact of modifications on child support amounts, you can make informed decisions when seeking or contesting modifications. We’ll shed light on the intricacies of child support calculations and offer insights into navigating this aspect of divorce decree amendments.

Conclusion: Unlocking the Power to Rewrite Your Divorce Story

Navigating life after a divorce can bring unexpected changes, and sometimes, your original divorce decree might not keep up. Whether it’s a shift in financial circumstances, a move, or changes in childcare needs, Texas law provides a path for modifying your divorce decree. This guide will illuminate the key steps and considerations for successfully adjusting your divorce terms in the Lone Star State, ensuring your decree aligns with your evolving life.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Managing a Family Law case in Texas
  2. Deviating from the Guideline amounts for child support and Modifying a Child Support Order
  3. Defining a material and substantial change in a child support modification case
  4. Modification of Spousal Maintenance in Texas
  5. Reasons to not file a Child Custody Modification Suit in Texas
  6. Modifying a child custody order: A how to guide for Texas parents
  7. Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay and what are the exceptions to that rule?
  8. The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
  9. Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
  10. Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
  11. Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
  12. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  13. How to complete your divorce the right way: The Final Decree of Divorce in a Texas Divorce
  14. Courts require valid reasons for modifying visitation rights

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I modify a divorce decree in Texas?

Yes, you can modify a divorce decree in Texas if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the decree was finalized. Changes related to child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and other aspects may warrant modifications.

Can a judge change a divorce agreement in Texas?

Yes, a judge has the authority to change a divorce agreement in Texas. However, modifications typically require filing a formal request with the court and providing evidence of the substantial change in circumstances that justifies the modification.

How do I modify a divorce agreement in Texas?

To modify a divorce agreement in Texas, you need to file a petition for modification with the court that handled your original divorce case. It is essential to provide valid reasons and evidence supporting the need for modification. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the legal process.

How much does it cost to modify a divorce decree in Texas?

The cost of modifying a divorce decree in Texas can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the modifications, attorney fees, court filing fees, and other associated expenses. It is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can provide a better estimate based on your specific circumstances.

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