Changing a Final Divorce Order
In Texas, there may be some aspects of your divorce order that are eligible for modification. Even if you have valid grounds for a modification, it is not always easy to secure it. While a property division agreement may not reversible, you may be able to secure an adjustment to your child support or custody and visitation order.
Do You Have Grounds For A Post-Divorce Modification?
In order to secure a modification to your child support or custody order, you must be able to prove that significant changes in your circumstances impact your ability to meet your financial obligations and parental duties. You may have grounds for a post-divorce modification if you have experienced any of the following:
• You lost your job.
• You or your ex-spouse remarried.
• Your child received a diagnosis of a serious medical condition.
• The custodial parent wishes to move with the children.
• The amount of child support you currently receive is not sufficient for the needs of your children.
• Your job circumstances prevent you from paying the full amount of child support.
• You believe your current custody or visitation order is unworkable.
• You would like to seek more visitation time with your children.
The circumstances that led to your need for a post-divorce modification may seem overwhelming, but it may prove to be critical to avoid only a verbal agreement between you and the other parent. Child support is not eligible for retroactive modification, so the sooner you seek the necessary changes to your divorce order, the better it will be for you and your family.
Texas Child Support And Filing Your Taxes
As tax season rolls around again, how to handle child support payments can be a confusing matter. One of the main questions that parents of a child under a custody order have is who can claim the child for a tax exemption. As with most other family law issues, there is not one answer that applies to every situation.
Your custody or child support order should have specific instructions as to which parent is allowed to claim the child for tax purposes. In cases where there is more than one child involved, the courts sometimes allow each parent to claim a child. It’s very important that you know what your court order specifies as you can have issues with your taxes if either you or your ex claims the wrong child or claims a child incorrectly.
In the majority of cases involving sole custody, the custodial parent is the one who claims that child on their taxes. This is because the courts generally assume the custodial parent is the one providing more than half of the financial support of the child. However, in cases where the noncustodial parent is paying child support, it may be possible for that parent to be given one of the tax exemptions.
How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce Case.
You have probably heard about how many employers in Texas and around the country now look at the social media accounts of job applicants. Well, in family law cases, lawyers do the same thing. If your wife’s or husband’s lawyer is doing a good job, you can bet that he or she will be scrutinizing your social media posts to see if there is something that could be used to weaken your position.
*Think Like A Judge*
What you think of as a throw-away post or harmless comment that doesn’t mean much could mean a lot to a judge. In fact, when going through a divorce or custody case, a good rule of thumb is this: before you post, ask yourself what the judge might think. Here are a few things a judge might think about, which means you should think about them, too:
• Would your post show impulsiveness or poor judgment?
• Is it wise to post pictures of yourself out at a bar or party?
• If you’re asking for custody of your children, would it make sense to post about how hard it can be to be a parent?
• Is it a good idea to post photos of you and your date before the divorce is finalized?
• Does your post reflect irresponsibility in any way?
Whether you’re upset or thrilled, always take a few minutes to think before you post anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else. Try to post only positive messages and things that put you in a good light.
Family law courts have mostly moved away from awarding one parent in a divorce sole or full custody of a child. While the importance of both parents spending equal amounts of time with their children is recognized, exceptions do exist. If you are going through a divorce in which you believe joint or shared custody would jeopardize your child’s best interests, you are entitled to petition the court for sole custody.
Reasons For Seeking Sole Custody
The family court will require a formal request stating the reasons you are seeking fill custody before it will make a ruling. Here are four of the most frequently cited reasons:
1. Unfit Parent — The state of Texas will have its own legal definition of unfit parents, which typically include neglect, abuse, substance dependency, mental illness or others. If a court declares your ex-spouse as unfit, the judge will determine the level of the threat and decide whether the child and that parent may continue to have a relationship.
2. Absent Parent – A court will evaluate particular circumstances to determine if your ex was an absent parent. Your child living with you is not enough for the other parent to be considered absent, and even your ex’s failure to pay child support may not be a sufficient enough. The court will typically want evidence of failed attempts to locate or contact the absent parent. If the other parent tries to reestablish contact after the awarding of sole custody, the court may reconsider.
3. Fighting Parents — If the relationship between you and your former spouse has deteriorated to a level that is bitter and hateful, and that behavior, such as extreme badmouthing, will be detrimental to the well-being of the child, you might be awarded sole custody.
4. Child’s Choice — A judge may consider the preferences of your child — depending on his or her age and level of maturity. However, the child’s wishes will not be enough to let the judge award sole custody. Any of the above reasons to file a petition for sole custody that exist may also motivate your child’s wishes, in which case the court may use that as additional evidence.