Modifications Lawyer Guiding Clients Through the Modification Process in Tarrant County, Texas
Determining child custody, visitation schedules, and child support payments are often some of the most contentious moments in any divorce proceeding. Parents spend a lot of time and energy trying to work out what is best for their children. Over time, however, what is best for the children may change. If there has been a significant change in the family’s or child’s circumstances, it may be possible to have a court order modified to better suit the current situation. Filing for a modification can be a complicated process, and you may benefit from the help of an experienced attorney who specializes in family law.
Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, not only specializes in family law (Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization), she specializes in family law in Tarrant County, Texas. Because Ms. Cutrer only accepts family law cases, including modifications, in Tarrant County, she brings a unique local perspective that can be of great benefit to her clients.
If you need professional legal assistance from a modifications lawyer who knows family law and knows Tarrant County, call Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, today at 817-854-1651 to get started moving toward the modification you need.
Who Can File for a Modification?
Either parent can file a modification case. In certain circumstances, someone other than the parent will need to file for a modification. Those who may be allowed to do so include:
- A party listed in the current order,
- A person who is not a foster parent but who has had actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date the modification case is filed
- Anyone who has lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator for at least 6 months ending not more than 90 days before the date the modification is filed, and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator has died
Also, the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew may file if both parents are dead; both parents, the surviving parent, or the managing conservator agree; OR the child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.
The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division can also file a modification case in certain circumstances.
How Can I Change a Child Support Order?
In Texas, there are only two ways to change a child support order. One is to go through the Child Support Review Process (CSRP), in which a Child Support Review Specialist will conduct are view of the request for modification. After verifying information with both parties, such as income, health insurance coverage for the children, and both parents’ legal addresses, the specialist will look at the amount of time that has passed since the last order was issued, the new child support calculation, and any life changes that have occurred for the parents or the children. In consideration of all of these factors, the specialist will make a recommendation to approve or not approve the modification request. If both parents agree, this is the end of that process, and the modification is implemented. If one or both parents do not agree, they can either contest the decision and request another review or go to court.
The second way to change a child support order is to go directly to the court to file a Motion to Modify your support obligation without going through the Child Support Review Process first.
What Constitutes a Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances for Modifying Child Support?
Modifying a court order for child support in Texas requires that there has been a “material and substantial change” in circumstances. These typically include an increase or decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income, the noncustodial parent becoming legally responsible for additional children, a change in the child’s medical coverage, or a change in which parent the child lives with most of the time. Changes in custody or visitation may also count as material and substantial changes for the purpose of child support modification.
While there are specific circumstances listed that qualify as “material and substantial changes,” the court still has the freedom to consider other specific situations in its consideration of modifications. Speak to an experienced modifications attorney to discuss your options.
What is Required to Change Custody or Visitation in Texas?
Changes in custody or visitation require that the person requestion the modification can prove that the change is in the child’s best interest and that at least one of the following is true:
- There has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other person affected by the order.
- The child is at least 12 years old and has told the judge who the child wants to live with.
- The child has, with the permission of the primary custodian, been under the care and possession of another person for at least 6 months, unless the primary custodian is on active duty military deployment.
Additional circumstances that are considered material and substantial changes in circumstances that might result in a modified child custody or visitation order include family violence and child abuse, whether or not the perpetrator has ever been arrested or convicted of those crimes. If there is a conviction or order of deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence or abuse of a child, the law specifically noes this as a material and substantial change in circumstances that will justify a modification.
There may be other circumstances specific to your particular situation that a judge will consider to be adequate justification for a modification in child custody, visitation, or child support order. Speak with board-certified family law specialist Anita K. Cutrer to determine whether your circumstances might lead to a successful request for modification. She will use her 20-plus years of experience to can help you determine whether or not a judge is likely to find that a modification is justified in your particular circumstances. She can also help you gather the evidence you will need to prove your allegations.
How Can Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, Help With My Modification Case?
Attorney Anita Cutrer has over 20 years of experience practicing family law. She limits her family law practice to Tarrant County cases only, which gives her clients the advantage of her localized knowledge and experience in modification and other family law issues. Ms. Cutrer has dedicated her career to helping families in Tarrant County, Texas resolve their difficult family legal issues, often succeeding in securing out-or-court settlements that save families from the emotionally draining adversarial process. If the collaborative law process of out-of-court negotiation does not succeed, however, Ms. Cutrer is fully equipped to proceed to court and represent you skillfully and professionally in pursuing the child custody, visitation, or child support modifications that are needed to serve the best interests of your child or children.
Call our Tarrant County office for a free consultation with an experienced modifications lawyer at 817-854-1651.