Once a court has entered an order regarding child-related issues (conservatorship, possession and/or support), later modification of the terms of the order require a finding that a “material and substantial” change has taken place since the time of the prior order (or mediated settlement agreement) regarding the circumstances of the child and/or for the parties, and further that any suggested change is in the best interest of the child.
Various situations can support a finding of “material and substantial” change of circumstance including, but not limited to, marriage or remarriage of a parent, significant change in the home environment, a child over the age of 12 expressing a desire to change his or her primary residence, a conservator abandoning the child to another’s care for at least six months, and other situations that have a significant impact on the child’s physical, mental, emotional or moral well-being. Higher standards for modification of child custody orders exist if modification of the designation of primary residence is sought within a year of the prior order.
Modification of child support requires a finding that the circumstances of the child and/or parties has materially and substantially changed, or that three years have passed from the date of the last order and the amount of child support differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount originally awarded. Keep in mind, however, that as of September 1, 2018, if a prior order was entered by agreement and the amount of child support in that order was different than the amount of support which would have been required by the state’s guidelines (either lower or higher), subsequent modification is only possible if the court finds that there has been a material and substantial change of circumstances; the "three year/20% or $100 rule" no longer applies.
Spring/Woodlands attorney Lisa Bruce represents clients in Montgomery County, Harris County, and the surrounding areas of Texas in matters regarding modification of existing child support and child custody orders. She has extensive experience working with individuals who are seeking these types of modification.
If you have questions about modifying a prior child custody/possession or child support order, we invite you to contact our law office to learn more.
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