Fort Worth custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich helps parents modify custody and possession orders in Dallas, Fort Worth and other parts of Tarrant County. It would be wonderful if a divorce could deal with all the resulting issues until the children reach adulthood. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Lives evolve after people go their separate ways. Often what the court ordered at the time of the divorce or SAPCR is no longer a practical arrangement.
The Texas Family Code provides opportunities to modify the terms of the court order to rearrange custody and child support. (And the property division in certain situations.) Modification suits can be complex; sometimes they are even more complex than the original divorce or SAPCR. Learn more about how custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich can help with your child support and custody modifications.
Modifying child support or custody without a modification lawyer in Texas
Modifying custody and child support orders is the wrong time to try your hand at lawyering. Custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich does not believe all divorces or other family law matters always require an attorney in Texas; however, modifications are an area where it is almost always dangerous to go to court alone. In Dallas and Fort Worth divorces many people go to court without a lawyer. The courts generally do what they can to help people move through the divorce. The Texas Family Code establishes several presumptions of facts that make this easy for the family court judge. The parties likely recently lived together and parented together. Their differences about the kids are usually not that great. This allows the family law courts to more easily enter an order in a divorce.
However, many of these helpful tools do not exist in custody and child support modifications. In modifications there are far fewer presumptions. The parties have to do more work to prove their case. The facts are more problematic. The parents are no longer in a situation where they recently lived together and parented together. Now they have separate lives and their own objectives. As a result, the party that prevails in a modification is usually the one that uses the legal system more effectively. A child support and custody modification lawyer like Adam Kielich can be extremely important towards accomplishing that goal.
Child Support Modification in Fort Worth and Dallas
Under the Texas Family Code, child support is set by a formula tied to the earnings of the parent paying support. (The obligor.) Over time the obligor’s earning potential typically increases; in turn that should result in an increase in child support. However, the Texas Family Code does not establish a mechanism to automatically increase child support as earnings increase. The court order establishing child support fixes it at that amount until the court modifies the order.
In many cases the increase in earnings can be proven by review of the obligor’s paychecks. In some cases, particularly where the obligor is self-employed, proving a change in income can be difficult. Child support can also reduce in a modification where the obligor has seen a reduction in income. This can help an obligor ease the financial pressure of mandatory child support and all of the penalties for non-payment.
Many people accept help increasing child support through the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division. This agency provides child support modification assistance for free (but generally only to increase child support). Some counties provide domestic relations offices that also help people with these modifications. Many people who accept this help find themselves waiting a very long time to see any action. It is not unusual for people to wait a year or more before they have a court hearing. You do not have to pursue modification through a government agency.
You can hire a private attorney like custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich. A private attorney can file for modification of child support in the family courts. Typically the modification resolves much quicker. Contact Dallas and Fort Worth custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich to start modifying your child support orders.
Custody Modification in Tarrant County and Dallas County
Modifications of conservatorship rights and possession schedules are common forms of custody modification in Texas. These modifications generally occur due to changing circumstances that cause the existing arrangement to become unworkable. This can be caused by a new marriage, employment changes, drug or alcohol addictions and sometimes just a number of small factors come together to sour the parenting relationship. Changes with the children in extracurricular activities, friends and their relationships with the individual parents can also play a role. Sometimes the parents can work out a new agreement without depending upon a judge for a new custody arrangement. However, if the parents cannot come to an agreement then they must accept the present situation or file a modification suit to change the court orders establishing custody.
Challenges modifying custody orders in Texas
Modifications of custody issues tend to be difficult. In a modification the situation has often become emotionally charged and that can complicate bringing the parents together to reach an agreement. In addition to the emotional conflict, the legal standards in a modification are different from the divorce or SAPCR and that creates complications. Most divorces and SAPCRs end in an agreement or mediation between the parents and the court has little involvement in defining the custodial relationship. When the judge is involved in shaping the custodial relationship in a divorce or SAPCR the judge has a lot of help streamlining the process from the Texas Family Code.
The Texas Family Code sets out a rebuttable presumption that both parents should be involved as joint managing conservators and sets out the standard possession order as a default possession schedule for the parents. Absent an agreement by the parents or a serious problem with one or both parents, most family judges adopt the standard possession order and joint managing conservatorship. This is less true in Dallas and Tarrant counties with family law courts that have judges experienced in divorce and other family law issues.
However, in a modification that goes out the window. The presumption goes away and it is likely that the current situation has made the standard possession order unworkable. That means the judge must decide what is in the best interest of the child or children out of the particular facts of the family situation. That can require taking a case to trial if the parties cannot reach an agreement on their own. Many modifications resolve in mediation or informal negotiation; but there is no guarantee that the parent who would not compromise before will suddenly have a change of heart.
Hiring a custody modification lawyer in Fort Worth and Dallas
A custody modification lawyer can be an important resource in a custody modification for a number of reasons. An attorney can be a filter of reason and focus through the process to keep the emotional frustration from prolonging the process. An attorney can also use his expertise with the law and the local family courts in both the legal proceedings and with helping to shape a resolution that the courts will accept and may be a compromising fit for both parents. If you have to take your modification to trial then you definitely need representation to present the court the strongest case for your desired modification. Contact Dallas and Fort Worth custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich to discuss your needs.
Property Division Modification in Texas
Under the Texas Family Code a property division awarded by a court cannot be modified although there are related mechanisms that can be used to modify certain aspects of an award or the lack of a property division in a divorce. If property from the marriage is left undivided or unawarded in a divorce then there is an opportunity to return to court to divide the undivided property only. The court will not alter the division of property already addressed in the divorce decree. A court can also issue a clarification order on an existing property division in which the court does not materially change the property division but instead clarifies the division to facilitate division by the parties. These should not be thought of as a property division modification. Rather, these mechanisms serve to resolve the original property division.
These mechanisms typically find use where the terms of the divorce decree divide financial assets, business interests, or real property; but the language of the divorce decree is not specific enough to execute the division because some third party (such as a bank or broker) requires technical language to divide the assets. Sometimes parties in a divorce hide assets which are later discovered. These assets can usually be divided in a post-decree division so long as the later legal proceedings do not change the terms of the original property division. These issues are highly technical and the law is not always clear on what a court can or cannot do with post-decree property issues. An attorney skilled in dealing with financial assets can help simplify the process.
Contact Dallas and Fort Worth custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich for help
Modification suits in Texas frequently present challenges. Custody modification lawyer Adam Kielich helps clients in Dallas and Fort Worth navigate these challenges. He is a family law attorney with experience resolving modifications and other custody issues. Contact his Bedford office today to schedule a consultation.