After a final order has been decided by the court in family law, the orders will remain in effect until the child has turned 18, graduated from high school or the child has been legally declared an adult. If a person wants to change the terms of the order, the person must seek to modify the order in the court that made the original order. A person may wish to modify child support, conservatorship, possession or access with regard to a child. A person who is seeking to modify a prior order must show that there has been a “material change in circumstances of the child or of the parent” and that the requested modification is in the best interest of the child.
Obviously, there can be thousands of ways that the circumstances have changed since the prior order. A person seeking to prove that there has been a change must show the circumstances as they existed at the time of the original order as well as the circumstances as they have now changed.
Modification of Conservatorship, Possession or Access
When attempting to modify conservatorship the court has recognized all of the following circumstances as a material and substantial change:
- Conviction or deferred adjudication of a conservator,
- Repeated violations of the terms of an final decree or order,
- Conservator exposes the child to hostility directed at the other conservator, or has minimized or prevented contact between the child and conservator
- Remarriage of a conservator, or new stepparent in the household of the child,
- Frequent moves of the parent with the right to establish the residence of the child,
- The birth of new siblings or step-siblings,
- Changes in the child’s age or needs
- Conflict between the child’s parents or conservators, where cooperation and communication has become difficult or strained,
- Relocation of a conservator
- Change in child’s preference
- Abuse or neglect of a conservator
Modification of Child Support
A person may seek an increase or a decrease in child support. Once a modification suit is filed the person may seek any modification of child support apply retroactively, that is from the date that the request for a change of child support is filed rather than the date that the court eventually hears the case.
Child support may be modified (at any time) if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Child support can also be modified if it has been more than three years since an order has been reviewed and the child support will differ by 100 dollars.
When attempting to modify child support the court has recognized all of the following circumstances as a material and substantial change:
- Change in conservatorship
- Change in paternity
- Change in child’s residence
- Change in child’s needs
- The birth of a new child
- A change in a parents financial ability to support the child,
- An increase or decrease in a parent’s salary
- A change in the cost of exercising possession of or access to a child
- A change in the parent’s employment
- A change in the amount of possession for the parent who is providing support.