One of the most important types of family law cases that you and your loved ones may encounter is a modification case. In any modification case, you or your Co-parent would file a brand-new lawsuit seeking to change some aspect of your prior court orders about your children. These changes could be related to child custody, child support, or any other number of topics. In today's blog posts from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to talk about several different subjects related to modification cases. Specifically, I would like to discuss with you what it means to file for a modification, what a modification can cover as well as the benefits of hiring one of our attorneys to serve you and your family during one of these cases.
Make no mistake, if you are going through a modification case then that means your family would have already had to have filed a prior family law case and already have gone through the struggles and frustrations associated with being involved in the family law court system. Nobody wants to go through a child custody case more than one time however, the circumstances of your family may demand that you all do so. If this is the reality for your family, then you will surely want to prepare as diligently as possible so that your first modification case is your last one.
Modification cases can be in often be some of the most complex in all of the family law. Not only are you having to contend with brand new circumstances that have arisen for your family, but you also need to consider what year prior court orders have to say as well as the negotiation process with your Co-parent. You may find yourself in a position where both you and your Co-parent agree that it changed to your orders may be needed. However, you may also be in a position where you are asking for a modification that you're co-parent does not want. In that case, you need to be prepared to fight for the modification that you believe is in the best interest of your child.
In my opinion, the best way to fight for the best interests of your children is to Higher an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our junior associate attorneys Are diligent, prepared, and conscientious advocates for you and your family both inside and outside of the courtroom. While you may be unsure about a lot of things about your child custody case, your attorney should not be one of them. By hiring one of our junior associates to represent you in a modification case, you can be sure that your matter is handled with the utmost amount of professional care. That way, you can work on goal setting, intentionality and generally putting your best foot forward when it comes to your case.
If after reading today's blog post you have any questions about the material contained in the blog, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations in multiple venues. First, we have two Houston area locations where we offer in-person consultation six days a week. This is a unique opportunity for you to speak with one of our attorneys at no cost to you and to learn information about the modification process in Texas. When you meet with one of our attorneys in person you will have the attorney's undivided attention and be able to learn a lot about that attorney and our law practice period from there, you could decide whether or not you would like to hire our office to represent you in your case.
Next, we offer consultations both over the phone and via video. If meeting with one of our attorneys isn't that something that you can do in person, we offer virtual meeting opportunities over the computer and on the phone. These virtual meetings will allow you to ask questions and receive feedback from one of our attorneys regarding you are circumstances. No two families are exactly alike. Therefore, our attorneys will do their best in these consultations to give you information that is well suited to you and your family.
While nobody wants to have to go through a modification case, you and your family have an opportunity to achieve favorable results for yourself and your children by doing so. Sometimes we don't ask for certain to happen to us but, when you act diligently and are prepared in your case you can achieve great results for your child. Being able to work with an experienced junior associate attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan provides you with a great deal of hope and promise to look for a good outcome that will satisfy the needs of your family. With that said, let's talk a little bit about what it means to be involved in a modification case and how you and your family can best prepare for this type of family case.
What is a modification case in Texas family law?
Probably the most relevant question that you can ask yourself at this stage of the case is what a modification case is. When a modification case is filed that means a prior child custody case must have been heard before a family court. That child custody case may have been standalone or may have been part of a divorce that you and your spouse went through. Either way, the basis of the modification case will be those prior child custody orders. What a modification case amounts to is the desire on the part of you or your Co-parent to change some aspect of that a court order. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's blog post, there could be any number of areas of the child custody orders that you all would like changed.
For instance, you may be in a position where your visitation and possession orders no longer fit well for your child. For instance, the visitation schedule created some years ago may no longer work for your child because he or she has simply outgrown them in terms of their age and activities. Having to be shuttled back and forth between parents’ homes when your child has extracurricular activities to attend to is not always easy. As a result, a change in the visitation schedule for your child may be in his or her best interest. You and your Co-parent can discuss this change ahead of time it may even be able to come to some sort of agreement informally on a proposed change period, in that case, all you would need to do is formally file the modification case to have the judge consider in approved the change that the two of you already have done informally. This is a best-case scenario and one that would minimize the amount of time in money spent on this type of case.
Next, you may find yourself in a situation where a modification or change in the conservatorships arrangement for your child is necessary. You would see this in a situation where you or your Co-parent would like to change the primary conservator of your children. For instance, if your Co-parent was named as the primary conservator of your children in your divorce put your teenage child has expressed a desire for you to be the primary conservator now then you may want to file a modification case to present those arguments to a court. Typically, this is a situation where you likely would have to proceed with the modification case given that your Co-parent is unlikely to want to relinquish their title as primary conservator. Not only does that mean losing time with your child but it also means losing the ability to receive child support payments as well as the ability to make certain decisions on behalf of your child.
Next, there may be a change that is necessary regarding child support. In many cases, child support is a subject that can be rather straightforward. Child support for many families is calculated based on the guideline levels of support as outlined in the Texas family code. As such, child support is based on math rather than emotion. Sometimes the modification of child support is requested due to an increase or decrease in the amount of money earned by the paying parent. If you switch jobs and have a new level of income, then your Co-parent may want to see the amount of child support paid to her be increased. By the same token, if you saw a substantial decrease in the amount of income that you earn, you may want to petition the court to have your child support obligation decreased. Either way, the best interest of your child will be considered. Even though your income level may have changed the judge will determine what is in the best interest of your child and it may not necessarily be in what is in your best interests.
There are also more facts and specific circumstances that may be relevant to your family regarding a modification case. Issues like removing a right of first refusal designation, altering custody to reflect issues related to family violence, or a range of other topics that may be unique to your family could be requested in a modification. These circumstances require specific guidance and advice. Working with one of the experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is the most beneficial way for you to approach your modification case. You can sit with one of our attorneys in consultation and learn about the law, how it intersects with your case and whether you are in a strong position to modify the court order. All it takes is a phone call or email to our office to set up one of these consultations today.
What are material and substantial changes when it comes to a family court order?
Before a family court judge can consider any of the requested changes that you or your Co-parent are proposing to a court order regarding child custody, the judge must first consider whether the requested modification is based on a material and substantial change in circumstance on the part of you, your Co-parent, or your child. What this amount to is that the court does not want to go around modifying court orders unless there is a very good reason for their doing so. As such, you must be ready to show that a major change has occurred in the life of your family and that a modification needs to be considered to meet the best interests of your child.
A family court judge is given a wide degree of latitude when it comes to this type of consideration. The consideration is extremely fact-specific, and the circumstances of your family will be considered about the modification that is being asked for. For that reason, I highly recommend that you reach out to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys about the circumstances of her family and the modification that is being requested. We can provide you with a certain degree of experience when it comes to answering this question for you in advance of filing a lawsuit. You can potentially save a lot of time and money by speaking with our attorneys to determine whether you even have a case, to begin with. The perspective you gain from speaking with one of our lawyers can be balanced against advice you received from others as well as your intuition and feelings about the need to file and proceed with a modification case.
Final thoughts on Texas modification cases
Above all else, modification cases involve looking out for the changing needs of your family as well as the best interest of your children. When it comes to the best interests of your family, a judge would consider their emotional and physical well-being now as well as their future needs. This is a complicated assessment for a judge to make especially considering that the judge will never get to know your child all that well. Judges can appoint attorneys ad Litem and can Commission social studies to occur in the case where professionals from the outside are brought into your circumstances to evaluate the case and make recommendations to the court about the modification that is requested. However, at no point in the process will anyone be able to learn as much about your family as you and your Co-parent know.
For this reason, it is recommended that you and your Co-parent do everything possible to try and solve the issues in your family's life together as a team. This can begin with an attempt to informally modify your court orders such that you will not have to attend a court hearing or even file a modification case. If you believe that your Co-parent is trustworthy, you all may be able to informally modify your court orders without ever actually changing the initial order. You all would trust that the other person and their word are good enough to make certain changes. This could be done for relatively small changes to a visitation schedule or conservatorships rights and duties. However, it is not necessarily something that I would strongly consider for big life changes such as moves or child support issues. For those types of cases, it can be good to work with your Co-parent as much as possible, but it is not recommended for you to try and modify those types of orders informally.
Otherwise, it is important to consider the many different aspects of your family's life when becoming involved in a potential modification case. One of the toughest parts of a case like this is to be able to consider what is in the best interest of your child rather than what you may necessarily want for yourself. Sometimes those two things coalesce perfectly. Meaning that what is in your child's best interest is also what is in your best interest. However, and may also be the case that what your child needs at this time could be opposed to what you want to see happen regarding your child custody orders. With so many moving pieces involved in your case, it is wise to consider the viewpoints of your family as well as the perspective of an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video period these consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case period