Modification cases for Texas families

Child support modifications

One of the most popular subjects in family law to modify after a case is child support. You calculate child support based on factors that can change a great deal over time. Recall that the circumstances must have changed since the time of your last family law case. This is a challenge in many modification cases. Not so much in a child support case. Here is why a child support modification is the most straightforward modification in child custody.

Evaluate how your child support orders came to be in the first place. The income of the parent paying child support was taken on a net monthly basis. From there, the number of children before the court was totaled. This total corresponded to a percentage of the paying spouse’s net monthly income to come up with a monthly amount of child support. That total became the monthly responsibility of the noncustodial parent.

Child support modifications based on present circumstances

Fast forward to the current day. There are many ways that this child support order is no longer in the best interests of your child. For one, let’s assume that you are the parent who pays child support. Has your income changed- either by increasing or decreasing? If so, then you or your co-parent may be interested in modifying the child support to correspond better with your new net monthly income.

Next, are you responsible for supporting any children now that you were not responsible for when your child support orders were issued? Did you marry and have kids in the intervening years? When this happens, you can modify the child support orders downward to compensate for this development.

Child support modifications are filed by you, your co-parent, or the Office of the Attorney General. Recall that the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division oversees the process of distributing child support in Texas. The OAG may file a modification suit at its request or the request of you or your co-parent.

Working with an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to modify child support is a winning idea. We support and serve our clients to the utmost each day. Whether you need to press for an increase in child support or are trying to adjust child support downward, we are the right team of attorneys for you.

Finding the middle ground in child support modification

another aspect of child support modification cases to bear in mind is that you and your co-parent are frequently able to find a middle ground due to the nature of child support negotiations. It works out that you approach the subject with one figure in mind. Meanwhile, your co-parent will approach you with a different number. Are you able to negotiate your way to a middle number that is more appropriate based on your circumstances? It is possible.

Child support is ordered in the best interests of your child. This does not mean the same thing as in your own best interests. Taking time to consider what your child needs can answer many questions that you have about modification cases.

Consider the needs of your child even if you believe that you are due for a decrease in child support. For example, if you have seen your income decrease since the last time that you were in court your intention may be to decrease the Child Support that you pay period however, if your child has a special medical need or if there are other circumstances at play then you may want to maintain child support where it is even if it means your budget is tighter.

Modifying spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is an issue that you or your ex-spouse try to modify after your divorce case ends. The terms of your spousal maintenance are important. Find them in your Final Decree of Divorce. You must be familiar with these orders. There is an obligation to pay spousal maintenance on time, in full each month. In this way, it is like child support. Payment options include: partial payments, monthly payments, or in lump sum payments over time.

There are a handful of reasons why spousal maintenance payments end up being modified. Increases or decreases in the amount of spousal maintenance being paid occur regularly. Again, the changes described in your petition to modify must be material and substantial. Small changes on the margins of your life or that of your ex-spouse do not justify a modification. You also cannot modify a spousal maintenance award just because you disagree with the initial order from the trial court judge.

Modifying a court order related to spousal maintenance is not an appeal, in other words. Do not expect your modification petition to be accepted by the court if you simply list a hardship that you have encountered since the last time you were in court. Rather, you need to show the court that something has developed since your last court date which makes the order unworkable. New evidence must be presented to the court that has developed since the last time that you were before the court. The failure to present evidence available to you in the divorce is not grounds to modify a court order now, as well.

Family courts do not modify court orders for a minor reason

You need to present a well-thought-out and developed case to win a modification of spousal maintenance. It is not enough to have your case filed. All the effort, time, and money that went into the filing is without merit unless you can win the case. This is where working with an experienced family law attorney comes in handy. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan know how to guide you in a spousal maintenance modification case.

The specific change in circumstances must be stated in your petition to modify and needs to be more than a disagreement with the order. Earning less income on the part of the paying ex-spouse is a reason to modify spousal maintenance. The spousal maintenance order is based on income earned from years ago. Having a different job that pays you less money is a good reason to modify your spousal maintenance obligation.

Another reason why modification is sought in spousal maintenance cases is due to an increase in expenses on behalf of the party paying maintenance. For example, if you are responsible for paying spousal maintenance but you have seen your household expenses increase due to an illness on behalf of your current spouse then that is a reason to file a motion to decrease the spousal maintenance award.

An increase in income, however, will lead to the spouse who receives spousal maintenance asking the court to modify the amount of spousal maintenance upward.

When illness strikes

The facts and circumstances of your case are unique. A family court judge will view your circumstances and make decisions about modification based on what you are going through. Disability in your home has an impact on your ability to pay your bills, household expenses, and spousal maintenance.

Suppose that you remarried after your divorce. You and your spouse were then blindsided by test results showing that your wife has cancer. She cannot work while she receives chemotherapy. You have reduced your hours at work to be at home to care for your wife. Your hope that all of this is temporary, but you are not sure that it is.

You also have a spousal maintenance order from your divorce. You are responsible for paying 15% of your net monthly income to your ex-spouse. That you no longer work the same job as you did back then is an issue. That you no longer work full time to care for your wife is another change in circumstances. Bringing these issues up in a courtroom is necessary. The facts of your case indicate a material and substantial change in circumstances.

What happens when your ex-spouse remarries?

Those of you reading this blog post are likely asking yourself if your ex-spouse remarrying changes things when it comes to spousal maintenance. As in do you still need to pay maintenance if your ex-spouse has remarried? Your responsibility to pay spousal maintenance continues even if you remarry. Having children with your new spouse does not absolve you from paying spousal maintenance, either.

However, changes to the life of your ex-spouse can potentially terminate your responsibility to pay spousal maintenance. Let’s start with the remarriage of your ex-spouse. Your ex-spouse remarrying automatically ends your obligation to pay spousal maintenance. This means that you do not need to go to court to file a modification lawsuit to do so.

Your ex-spouse is obligated under the terms of your final decree of divorce to notify you of their marriage. Inquire with an attorney from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan about reimbursement of amounts of spousal maintenance paid after the date of your ex-spouse’s remarriage.

Cohabitation by your ex-spouse

Here is where things get trickier as far as your responsibility to pay spousal maintenance is concerned. When your ex-spouse is in a dating relationship and begins to cohabitate with their significant other this ends your obligation to pay spousal maintenance. What is different here than in the marriage situation above is that it is not automatic that your obligation ends. Rather, you will need to file a modification petition with the court to end your obligation.

This is trickier than it seems at first. Proving that your ex-spouse is cohabitating with a romantic partner is not as easy as it seems. Evidence comes in the form of social media posts, mail in both their names, photographs of their home, etc. Obtaining this sort of evidence is important for a case like this.

When it comes to collecting evidence of this sort please reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you to do so. We know what it takes to win a modification to end spousal maintenance. Contact us today for a free of charge consultation.

What to expect in a consultation with a family law attorney?

Going through a situation where you and your family are unsure of whether a modification is possible means finding trustworthy information. Being in a position where you acknowledge that there is a problem in your case but do not necessarily know how to proceed is certainly stressful. With that said, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to prepare you for what to expect in a circumstance for you meet with an attorney to discuss your case.

From the beginning, you need to be able to understand what you’re court orders say in terms of responsibilities for you and your co-parent. Failing to understand your court orders means problems in a modification. Guessing or assuming what those orders say puts an attorney in a position where he or she has to ask questions and take time to find out what you are ultimately trying to accomplish.

You can save time and money by going through the content of your court orders as closely as possible before meeting with an attorney. This will help you to better guide the attorney toward your goals and allow you to determine what options you may have as far as moving forward with your case.

Creating goals for a modification

Not having good information about modification cases means that you may not understand very well what sort of goals are even achievable in your case. Other people you know may have gone through modification cases previously but until you consider your own goals you will not be satisfied.

For many people, this means taking care to think through issues of your case without distraction. It is not possible to win a modification case without having concrete goals. Having only a vague notion of what you would like to accomplish in the modification is a recipe for disaster. Think about the best interests of your child. What options are available to you and your family to build a better life for your child?

With this backdrop, take the time to quietly consider what options are available to you and your family right now. After thinking about these subjects consider meeting with an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free, 30-minute consultation with one of our attorneys is most productive when you have thought through the issues and understand your court orders.

Developing a strategy based on your goals

once you have goals set out for your case the next step in the process is to think hard about a strategy to achieve those goals this is really where an experienced attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can come in handy. Our attorneys have seen people in your position work through complicated issues related to modification cases before. We know what it takes to succeed and will communicate those methods to you.

Modifying a child custody order means working through tedious and emotional subject matter with an adverse party. You will not be able to jam through a modification case against the will of your opposing party. With that in mind, negotiation plays a role in every modification case. As such, your attorney will be able to help you understand how to approach various issues. Being able to protect your children, advance your interests, and be as respectful of an opposing party as possible.

Determining the strength of your case is not easy. So many people approach our attorneys and ask whether they even have an opportunity to win their case at all. As with any family law case, it depends largely on the facts and circumstances that are relevant to your family. It is invaluable for you to be able to sit down with an attorney who can evaluate your case objectively. From there, you are better able to determine how to pursue your goals and move forward with the modification.

Where to go from here? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

Interested in learning more about the world of Texas family law modifications? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. We know what you need to succeed in a modification case. Our attorneys are inside the family courts of Texas with our clients, day in and day out. We excel at negotiation, litigation, and every step in between. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys is at your fingertips.

Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us here on our blog. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan post interesting and informative content each day of the week. We hope that you have learned something from this blog post and look forward to you joining us again tomorrow.

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