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Ramos Law Firm

Excellence in Family law
1214 Miramar Street
Houston, TX 77006
Phone: 713-225-6200

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Texas CHILD CUSTODY Modification AND VISITATION IN HOUSTON

Can custody, visitation, and child support be changed after a divorce decree is final?

Custody, visitation and child support can all be modified after the divorce decree, or any other court order, is final. 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?

Modification of child custody and visitation may be ordered 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. Additional procedural steps must be taken if a party seeks to modify a decree within one year of it being signed by the judge.

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 or after three years from the original order if the amount of support would change by $100 per month or 20%.

Can I order child custody modification 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:
  1. the order works a severe economic hardship on either party or the child
  2. the child is no longer in the age category on which the current support amount was based; and
  3. 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 Texas child custody modification?

First, talk to an experience family law attorney to discuss the merits of your case. If you would like to move forward, a petition to modify must be filed. This is very similar to the original petition that was filed in your original custody. The rest of the process is very similar as well. The other party is served with notice of the lawsuit, generally by a process server. Depending on the issues and the court, mediation may be required. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will hold a final trial on the merits and make a ruling on the issues in this case. Temporary Orders hearings are only held in modification cases when operating under the previous court order would harm the emotional or physical development of the child.

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.