Modification FAQ

If there has been a significant change in your circumstances, a modification of your court orders may be necessary. At Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P., our team fully understands the law and has the experience required to answer your pressing questions.

Call us at 817-422-5530 to have your family law modification questions answered or reach out to our lawyers online to schedule a consult in the Arlington area.

Modification Answers

What can be modified?

A court with continuing, exclusive jurisdiction may modify an order that provides for the conservatorship, or possession of and access to a child.

What are the grounds for modification of a sole managing conservator?

  1. The court may modify an order that designates a sole managing conservator of a child of any age if:
    • The circumstances of the child, sole managing conservator, possessory conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the rendition of the order

    • The appointment of the new sole managing conservator would be a positive improvement for the child

  2. The court may modify an order that designates a sole managing conservator of a child 10 years of age or older if:
    • The child has filed with the court in writing the name of the person who is the child's choice of managing conservator

    • The court finds that the appointment of the named person is in the best interest of the child

What are the grounds for modification from sole managing conservator to joint managing conservator?

  1. The court may modify an order that designates a sole managing conservator if a parent of the child requests appointment as a joint managing conservator and the court finds that:
    • The circumstances of the child or the sole managing conservator have materially and substantially changed since the rendition of the order
    • Retention of a sole managing conservator would be detrimental to the welfare of the child
    • The appointment of the parent as a joint managing conservator would be a positive improvement for and in the best interest of the child
  2. An order of joint conservatorship, in and of itself, does not constitute grounds for modifying a support order.

What are the grounds for modification of conservatorship or possession and access?

The court may modify an order that sets the terms and conditions for possession and access to a child or that prescribes the relative rights and duties of conservator if:

  1. The circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of:
    • The date of the rendition of the order
    • The date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based
  2. The child is at least 12 years of age and has filed with the court, in writing, the name of the person who is the child's preference to have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child
  3. The conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the primary case and possession of the child to another person for at least six months

What are the grounds for modification of child support?

  1. Except as provided by Subsection (b), the court may modify an order that provides for the support of a child if:
    • The circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of:
      • The date of the order's rendition
      • The date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based
      • It has been three years since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines
  2. A support order may be modified only as to obligation accruing after the earlier of:
    • The date of service of citation
    • An appearance in the suit to modify
  3. An order of joint conservatorship, in and of itself, does not constitute grounds for modifying a support order
  4. Release of a child support obligor from incarceration is a material and substantial change in circumstances for purposes of Subsection (a)(1) if the obligor's child support obligation was abated, reduced or suspended during the period of the obligor's incarceration

Can my current spouse's income be affected by me paying child support for a child of a prior marriage?

  1. The court may not add any portion of the net resources of a new spouse to the net resources of an obligor or obligee in order to calculate the amount of child support to be ordered in a suit for modification.
  2. The court may not subtract the needs of a new spouse, or of a dependent of a new spouse, from the net resources of the obligor or obligee in a suit for modification.

What if there is a change in physical possession?

If the sole managing conservator of a child or the joint managing conservator who designates the child's primary residence has voluntarily relinquished the actual care, control and possession of the child for at least six months, the court may modify an order providing for the support of the child to provide the person having physical possession of the child the right to receive and give receipt for payments of support for the child and to hold or disburse money for the benefit of the child.

What is the retainer fee required for a modification?

  • Conservatorship:
    • A $1,250 minimum fee, uncontested, is required before a suit is filed.
    • A $2,750 minimum fee, contested, is required before a suit is filed.
  • Child Support:
    • A $2,000 minimum fee is required before a suit is filed.

Find the Answers You Are Looking For

Call our lawyers at Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P., to get the answers you need to move forward with your modification. You can reach our Arlington law office at 817-422-5530.