Child Custody Modification FAQ's

Find the answers to your questions.
What is custody?
In Texas, the legal word for custody is “conservatorship.” Custody, or conservatorship, describes your relationship with a child when there is a court order
What is a visitation or possession order?
A visitation or possession order says when each parent (or sometimes a nonparent) has the right to time with a child.
What is child support and medical support?
Child support is money a parent pays to help with the cost of raising a child, such as the cost of food, housing, clothing, school supplies, daycare and activities. A parent can be ordered to pay child support by a judge. Even if there is no court order, both parents are expected to financially support their child. A parent who does not live with a child and does not help support the child may be ordered to pay “back” or “retroactive” child support to the person who cared for the child.

Medical support is additional child support a parent is ordered to pay to cover the cost of health insurance and uninsured medical expenses for a child.

Dental support is like medical support. It is additional child support that a parent is ordered to pay to cover the reasonable cost of dental insurance and uninsured dental expenses for a child.
How do I change an existing custody, visitation, child support or medical support order?
You can ask a judge to change a custody, visitation, child support or medical support order by filing a modification case.
What is a “material and substantial change in circumstances” for changing child support or medical and dental support?
Generally, this means that at least one of these things has happened:

­ The income of the parent ordered to pay child support has either increased or decreased, or
­ The parent ordered to pay child support is legally responsible for additional children, or
­ The child's medical insurance coverage has changed, or
­ The child's living arrangements have changed.

Warning: Do not file a frivolous modification suit. You can be assessed attorney’s fees if the court finds that the modification suit was filed frivolously or to harass the other side. See Texas Family Code chapter 156.005.

Some Texas courts have said that a decrease in a parent's salary can be a material and substantial change in circumstances supporting a modification in child support. To help you figure out if you could succeed in your modification suit, you should talk to a lawyer who practices in the county where your orders were signed.

Can a court order be changed without going to court?
No. Only a judge can change a court order.

Do I need a lawyer to help me with my modification case?
You do not have to have a lawyer to file a modification case. However, before filing your case it’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your situation. A lawyer can explain your rights and options.

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A Texas/Dallas/Houston/McAllen child custody Lawyer from The Rose Sanders Law Firm, specifically Erica Rose can help parents all over Texas, prepare for their custody case and fight for their rights as a parent in or out of the courtroom.

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