Your life may change dramatically after a divorce. Over a lifetime, it is common for people to experience changes in income and accidents or medical emergencies that temporarily or permanently alter their ability to work. Children's needs and relationships also change. Sometimes aspects of your divorce decree need to be modified along with those changes. At the McClure Law Group, our Dallas divorce lawyers can help you fight for or against a post-divorce modification to such matters as child support, child custody, or spousal maintenance.Pursuing or Responding to a Post-Divorce Modification Request
Many situations may call for a modification of a divorce decree or another family law order. If you are the person seeking a modification, it is important that a modification to the existing order be sought before you become unable to comply. To ask for a modification in child support, for example, you will often need to prove that there has been a material and substantial change in your circumstances.
One example of a material and substantial change in circumstances could be if you were paying child support to a custodial parent and lost your job. In that case, you may ask the court to order a reduction in your child support payments. If you simply stop paying child support, you will be in arrears and subject to unpleasant enforcement actions, so it is important to request a modification rather than simply stop paying as much. In another example, if your child is suddenly diagnosed with learning disabilities or a medical problem, the noncustodial parent may need to provide increased payments to contribute to the treatments that may be necessary.
Parents should be aware that even when a noncustodial parent gets behind or in arrears on payments, possession and access rights may not be withheld by the custodial parent. Similarly, noncustodial parents are not allowed to stop paying support because possession and access rights have been withheld.
You may request a modification in a child custody or possession schedule only under limited circumstances. Most of the time, you will need to establish that there was a material and substantial change in circumstances, and that the change is in the best interests of the child. However, you may also request a modification if you can establish that it is in the child's best interests, and either your child is at least 12 years old and wants to tell the court that they want a change, or the custodial parent voluntarily relinquished primary care and custody to someone else.
During a divorce, the court will make a distribution of property. Sometimes after the divorce, an ex-spouse fails to turn over items of property or refuses to pay court-ordered spousal maintenance. Our law firm can help you enforce a property division after the divorce is complete; however, the division itself is not subject to modification. Spousal maintenance, on the other hand, is subject to potential modification.Seek Assistance from a Divorce Lawyer in Dallas or Beyond
Particularly when children are involved, ex-spouses may be bound together even after they get divorced. Tensions are likely to still be running high, and an experienced Dallas divorce attorney can help. If you want to obtain or fight against a post-divorce modification, the McClure Law Group can help you. We also have a Collin County office in Plano (by appointment) and represent people in Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other areas of Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. Call us at 214.692.8200 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment if you need a child support attorney or assistance with another type of divorce matter.