Mary E. Ramos // Attorney At Law //
Can custody, visitation, and child support be changed after a divorce decree is final?
Yes. Either parent may file a motion to modify with the court that last entered an order regarding the children. If the children have lived in a different county for six months, a motion to transfer the case to that county may also be filed by the parent filing the modification motion or the parent responding to it.
When can custody and visitation be modified?
If the parents are currently joint managing conservators of the children, the court may change who has primary possession and/or the visitation schedule if the circumstances of the child or one or both parents have materially and substantially changed or the current order has become unworkable or inappropriate. Failure to give notice of address changes or of inability to pick up the kids may also justify changes.
When may an order of child support be modified?
An order of child support may be modified at any time upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances.
Can an order of child support be modified without a showing of substantial change in circumstances?
Yes. Generally, an order of child support may be modified one year or more after it has been entered without a showing of substantial change in circumstances if:
- the order works a severe economic hardship on either party or the child
- the child is no longer in the age category on which the current support amount was based; and
- the child is still in high school and there is a finding that there is a need to extend support beyond the eighteenth birthday to complete high school.
How do I start a modification for child support?
First you would need to file a petition to modify. Then you need to serve the other party with a summons, and a copy of the petition. Once this is done, you need to file proof of service with the court. In order to serve the other party correctly, it is best to hire a process server.
How long does the other parent have to respond?
The responding party's answer must be returned to you (or your attorney) and the answer filed with the court within twenty days after service of the petition.