By: Leslie Barrows
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Divorce modification and enforcement
After your divorce is final you may need to consider modification and enforcement actions when your life and circumstances change substantially. Ideally your divorce degree and parenting plan was negotiated and written with an eye on foreseeable life change in the future. As children grow older and parents have new life experiences, what used to work well in raising and parenting the children might need to be modified or enforced. Of course, we always prefer to negotiate modifications and enforcements the polite and easy way when possible. Other times stubborn and willful people only respond to post-decree court proceedings, unfortunately.
Modification of custody or support order
Whether you are the joint or sole managing conservator, your custody plan and possession and access time for visitation with your children may require modification with major life changes. Common events leading to custody modification include a new job requiring a move, locally or outside Texas, and changes in the child’s personal and development needs and availability to spend time with both parents.
Child support is calculated based on the net resources of the noncustodial parent ordered to pay child support. Net resources accommodate a broad ability to pay, and are not simply a function of take-home pay. When the parent paying support loses a job, has a substantial increase in pay or otherwise has different net resources, the child support and withholding order may need modification.
Violations and enforcement of court orders and terms of the divorce decree
Despite best efforts some people cannot seem to follow the duties imposed on them by the divorce decree and orders of the court. Too often and ironically the person who pushed for a certain schedule or clause in the parenting plan is the one who cannot seem to stick to what they agreed to do.
Whether the issue involves possession and access of the children, payment of medical bills and extra expenses beyond child support or they payment of child support itself, there are several enforcement options. Sometimes a well-written letter to the other attorney may help get the attention of a parent who will not comply. Other times a trip back to court may be required. For some stubborn people, a contempt of court charge or visit to the local jail helps people get back on the compliance track.
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