Judge signing a motion to modify court order

Filing a Motion to Modify Court Order: Find Local Support

You already went through the emotional wringer to obtain a court order in your family law matter. You settled into a routine and put the stress of the proceeding behind you. But now a new problem has arisen, and you may need to change the original court order.

Going through the modification process in Texas can be stressful, as you have to revisit the original situation and add a new chapter of non-compliance by the other party. That’s why it’s best to work with a local family law attorney who can help you navigate new challenges.

Learn how to file a motion to modify court order rulings, including the importance of gathering evidence to support your argument.

Court Orders That Can Be Modified

First, let’s review the types of family law court orders in Texas that can be modified. These orders might cover any of the following issues:

These final orders are designed to be permanent because the case has ended and the judge has resolved the issues, but they are not truly permanent in the sense that you can request to modify prior orders when circumstances change. Think of it as a way to keep your order up-to-date based on a new situation.

Changes that might justify a motion to modify a court order include the following:

  • Moving to a different state
  • Losing a job
  • Receiving a pay raise
  • Changing a work schedule
  • Developing a physical or mental health impairment
  • A spouse re-marrying
  • Any other material or substantial change in circumstances

Remember that these issues don’t apply to just you. You might also consider a modification when a change affects your ex-spouse or co-parent. For example, if your former spouse re-marries, you may no longer be responsible for paying child support under certain circumstances.

Modification Procedure

The modification process requires a judge to officially change your court order. You start this process by filing a motion. This motion proposes a modification and explains the reasons for it. You will also include evidence to support the grounds for the motion.

In most cases, you should file the motion in the court that issued the final order. If you or the other party have moved since the order, you should discuss where to file the modification with one of our attorneys.

Proving Your Case

When you want to modify your final order, you must prove the circumstances have materially and substantially changed.

A material change is one that has a real effect. In other words, the court will not modify an order if you cannot prove that the change substantially affects those involved. A substantial change occurs when the situation is different enough that the judge should re-examine whether the grounds for the original order still apply.

Thus, a party must show the change is significant enough and alters the situation enough that the judge should consider modifying the order. But proving these elements just opens the door. For the judge to grant a change, a party must show the modification is in the best interests of all parties involved.

For example, suppose that you want to move to a different state to take a new job. You file a motion asking to modify your custody arrangement and visitation schedule so you can take your child with you. A new job in a different state would likely qualify as a material and substantial change compared to the local job you had during the original case.

The modification must also serve your child’s best interests. If you are the custodial parent, the judge must balance several rights, including:

  • Your right to maintain primary custody (also called “possession” in Texas)
  • The other parent’s right to visitation (also called “access” in Texas)
  • The child’s interest in having a relationship with both parents

To achieve your goal of modifying child support orders, you must present compelling evidence to convince a judge to modify the original order. One of our attorneys can review the evidence you need to gather regarding your situation. This conversation will help you on the path to creating the strongest case possible.

Motion to Modify Court Order: Contact a Family Law Attorney

Filing a motion to modify court order rulings can bring back all the emotions you dealt with during the initial proceeding. But, obtaining a modification could be worth the stress if it positively impacts your future.

Working with a local team of family law attorneys can help smooth out the process and reduce some of the burden on your shoulders. Our team is fully capable of supporting your modification and protecting your interests.

We currently represent clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our Angleton law office at 979-267-7660 or our Sugar Land office at 281-944-5485 to receive legal advice about your family law matter.

Our family law attorneys can help you file the appropriate paperwork to get started on a modification and request a hearing.