Reasons for a Modification
Modification suits are often filed to address one of two things: (1) Modification of the possession schedule and/or parental rights, and (2) Modification of the amount child support and/or medical support that the primary parent is receiving. Texas courts typically will not modify orders that are less than a year old unless the suit meets specific exceptions. Determining if orders are eligible for modification is the first step in seeking the desired changes.
Modification vs. Enforcement
Unfortunately, divorced parents often have issues with their counterpart when raising their children post-divorce. In certain circumstances a modification of the previous orders is needed, while in other situations, the previous orders just need to be enforced. To help determine which cause of action best fits your needs, ask yourself one simple question: “If the other parent was following the orders as they exist now, would it resolve my issues?” If you answered “no” to this question, then you will likely need a modification of the previous orders. If you answered “yes” to this question, then you should pursue an enforcement action against the other parent.
Free 30-Minute Consultation
We begin by meeting with the potential client for a free 30-minute consultation. During this consultation, we will discuss all the reasons why the client wants to modify the previous orders and determine if the facts warrant a modification. We will also discuss the differences between a suit to modify the previous orders and a suit to enforce the previous orders to figure out if a modification is the best approach to accomplish the client’s legal goals.
Petition and Temporary Orders
To start the modification process, a petition is filed in the court that has continuing exclusive jurisdiction. After the petition is filed, a party can request that a judge hold a short hearing to establish a set of temporary orders that will govern the parties during the pendency of the rest of the modification suit. These hearings are often used to address any pressing issues such as upcoming visitation schedules, temporary child support, or to enjoin a party from doing any acts that may be harmful to the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Judge’s may also use a temporary orders hearing to grant temporary injunctions, order a child custody evaluation, or order the parties to participate in mediation.
It is always our goal at Nii Amaa Ollennu Law Firm, PLLC to reach an amicable resolution to any modification suit when possible. Mediation is a great way to do this, and is often required by Texas courts before the parties participate in a final trial. Mediation settings vary in length between either a half-day (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours). During this time, the parties work with the mediator to resolve any issues that remain contested. These issues generally involve possession schedule, amount of child support, and parental rights. While the parties’ differences may seem insurmountable prior to the mediation, a good mediator can often overcome these disputes and help the parties reach an agreement that is fair, beneficial for each side, and in the best interest of the children.
When all attempts at resolving the modification suit outside of the court have failed, the parties will participate in a final trial. Unlike the temporary orders granted earlier in the modification process, the judge’s orders in a final trial are permanent unless modified by a later suit. It is of the utmost importance that you be properly represented during a final trial. Nii Amaa Ollennu Law Firm, PLLC can ensure that you present to the court an organized, clear, and convincing argument for your desired results.