Divorce is one of the stressful events that a person can experience in life. In fact, an in-depth psychological research study rated divorce as the second-most stressful experience that a person can go through following the death of a spouse.
Anytime a person transitions out of marriage, this creates significant mental and emotional strain, not to mention the physical strain of attending court hearings, signing numerous documents, and moving into a new living situation. If children are involved, then the stress is amplified going through this process.
What often happens is that after the divorce is complete and you start to settle into your new life, you might have concerns about what you agreed to. Or, you may experience a change in circumstances that affects your ability to meet the terms of the divorce settlement agreement.
A Prevalent Issue Following a Divorce Settlement Agreement
One of the most common issues that pop up after a divorce is frustration or unhappiness with the child-related aspects of the original divorce order. When there are children through marriage, then one or both parties might grow concerned about what the court ordered in regards to child custody, child support, or visitation rights.
For example, the typical custody order in a Texas divorce will include a Standard Possession Order (SPO). This order includes a standard visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent to spend time with their child(ren) on specific days of the week, alternating weekends, and certain holidays.
After a divorce, the non-custodial parent often becomes upset with the schedule once the schedule takes effect and reality sets in. Perhaps the schedule interferes with an aspect of post-divorce life that the parent did not anticipate during the divorce, or the parent experiences a job-related change that creates a new work schedule.
If this example – or a similar example – sounds like your situation, then it’s important to understand the legal aspect of a “material and substantial” change in circumstances that would allow you to pursue a modification.
What Counts as a Material and Substantial Change?
Not every post-divorce change in circumstances rises to the level of being “material and substantial” that is worthy of modification. Going back to the visitation schedule example, it’s not enough for a non-custodial parent to be upset with the schedule because it’s inconvenient.
So, what qualifies as material and substantial? These are the most prominent situations that a court will consider:
- Substantial change to the non-custodial parent’s employment status
- Substantial change to the non-custodial parent’s income, impacting their ability to possess or access the child
- Substantial change to the non-custodial parent’s living situation
- One or both parties re-marries, creating a new living arrangement
- New children are introduced to the family dynamic through re-marriage
If one of these circumstances (or a related circumstance) applies to your situation, then it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible supporting your claim that the original court order should be modified. Then, working with me, I can help you present the best possible argument to the judge presiding over your modification case.
Let’s Get Started on a Divorce Modification in Texas
It is completely understandable to be upset with a divorce settlement agreement after the fact. Life’s circumstances can easily change, oftentimes without notice. You don’t have to pursue a modification to protect your interests or the relationship with your children alone.
As an experienced family law attorney, I can help by reviewing your case and supporting you on the path to a modification that better aligns with your post-divorce circumstances.
I have helped countless parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County successfully modify the original terms of their divorce order. If you live in one of these Texas counties, then contact me today.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to get started on a divorce modification. I’m here to help during this challenging time.