The divorce process can be highly taxing – both mentally and physically. There are many critical decisions that each spouse needs to make throughout a legal divorce in Texas. And, the totality of these decisions spread out over time could impact your ability to think clearly.
If you believe you made decisions under duress or simply wanted to get the divorce over with, you might have regrets once the divorce is finalized. This can especially be the case when you are in a different mentality, reading through everything outlined in the final decree of divorce in Texas.
Unfortunately, just because you disagree with the final decree of divorce after the fact doesn’t mean that you can request a change. There must be “material and substantial” reasons why you would request a modification of the order.
I’ll help you understand what circumstances qualify for the pursuit of a modification to the divorce order. First, let’s review everything that is contained in a divorce order.
Contents of Final Decree of Divorce in Texas
A final decree of divorce is typically 7-9 pages in length and contains a tremendous amount of important information that becomes part of the legal record. The complete court order is filed with the district clerk in the county where the divorce was finalized.
The typical divorce decree will contain the following information:
- The names of the parties in the divorce suit (e.g., you and your ex-spouse)
- The county and district court where the suit was filed
- The name of the petitioner who initiated the divorce
- The name of the respondent who was served with divorce papers
- Confirmation that both parties appeared in court for the final divorce hearing
- The names and ages of any children through the marriage (if applicable)
- Confirmation that both parties agree to the divorce order
- The grounds on which the divorce was dissolved (e.g., no fault, insupportability, etc.)
- The division of assets brought into or accumulated through the marriage
- Responsibilities for debt, liabilities, or other obligations (e.g., income taxes)
- The establishment of alimony payments (known as spousal maintenance in Texas)
- The establishment of child support payments
- The establishment of child custody orders
- Visitation rights (known as possession and access to the child)
- Agreement not to disparage the other spouse (known as the non-disparagement clause)
- Other legal agreements (e.g., indemnity clauses that one spouse will not be held responsible if the other spouse fails to fulfill their obligation to pay a debt)
- Signature of all parties and the presiding judge authorizing the final decree of divorce
All of these issues should have been resolved during the divorce process and agreed upon before the final decree was signed into the court record.
However, it may not have become clear to you what you agreed upon until after exiting the divorce process and fully procressing what was ordered by the court.
In this case, if you strongly disagree with a provision or multiple provisions outlined in the divorce order, then you will need to be able to prove why the order should be changed.
The Need to Prove a Material and Substantial Change
Visitation rights, for example, often become a point of contention after the divorce is finalized. Often, a spouse will agree to the state of Texas’ standard visitation schedule that is outlined in the final divorce decree. However, one spouse could have difficulty with the plan once the visitation schedule is implemented.
Here’s where this can become an issue. The reasons for having difficulty with the schedule must be “material and substantial” to pursue a modification of the visitation orders. Consider this basic comparison.
Not Material and Substantial:
- The visitation schedule doesn’t fit my routine in the rhythm of my post-divorce life.
- I constantly get stuck in traffic, trying to pick up my child(ren) at the designated time.
- I don’t feel that I am receiving quality time with my child during my visitation time.
Material and Substantial:
- I experienced a significant job change that impacted the visitation schedule.
- Due to job loss, I lack transportation to pick up my children at the designated time.
- My ex-spouse is consistently encroaching on my visitation time.
The same standard applies to other situations that could arise after the divorce is finalized. Simply being upset with how an aspect of the divorce has played out – such as your ex-spouse receiving access to a particular asset that you now wish you had in your possession – is not enough to pursue a modification.
However, if you believe that your ex-spouse could be causing damage to assets that are part of your post-divorce possession, you could have grounds to contest the division of assets contained in the original court order.
Regardless of your situation, you need the support of an expert family law attorney to help you arrive at the best possible outcome.
Work With Blair Parker for a Divorce Modification in Texas
If you find yourself in a situation where you no longer agree with the terms of your divorce and have compelling reasons to pursue a modification, then I can provide you with legal support.
I practice family law exclusively so that I can provide the best legal support for my clients. I have helped countless individuals pursue a modification of a divorce order in Fort Bend County and Brazoria County. If you live in one of these counties, then contact me today for legal help.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to talk about the contents of your final decree of divorce in Texas and your current situation. I am ready to support your case.