Custody Modifications

Parties can modify prior court orders (divorce decrees, custody orders, etc) if there has been a “material and substantial change” and the modification is in the child’s best interest.  Our Houston family lawyers frequently modify child support amount, visitation and custody orders.  Contact us for a complimentary consultation at a time convenient for you.

Custody and Child Support Modification

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

Yes. 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 will a court change the amount of child support?

Child support can be increased or decreased if there has been a substantial change in either parent’s financial situation or in the needs of the children. A change in child support is also justified if it has been three years or more since the support order was issued or last changed and the amount of support should be changed by 20% or $100 a month according to the child support guidelines.  For example, a father paying child support might seek a modification if he is laid off and ends up with a much lower paying job or is injured and cannot work at all. On the other hand, a woman who is receiving child support might seek an increase if the father is earning much more than he did at the time of the original order.

When can custody and visitation be modified?

If the parents are currently joint managing conservators of the children, the court may change who has primary possession and/or the visitation schedule 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. Failure to give notice of address changes or an inability to pick up the kids may also justify changes.

Can joint managing conservatorship be changed to sole managing conservatorship or vice versa?

Yes.  A court can replace one parent as sole managing conservator or switch from a sole managing conservator to joint managing conservators. To make such a change, the court would have to find that the circumstances of the child or a parent have materially and substantially changed and that such a change would be a positive improvement for the child.  To change a sole managing conservatorship within one year of an order requires a showing that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or may significantly impair the child’s emotional development.


Contact Ned Gill III today for a complimentary consultation to discuss child custody and its effects on a divorce in Houston, Texas.