Austin Modification of Divorce Decree Lawyer

You worked hard to agree to divorce terms and finalize your divorce, but our lives are not static, and those terms may no longer be appropriate. A petition for modification allows you to request the change in terms you need due to substantial changes in circumstances you have experienced.

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Modification of Divorce Decree

Your Final Decree of Divorce delineates the terms of your divorce, and it can be a relief to have guidelines set for the future following the divorce process. Your divorce decree is highly specific because the court does not want there to be any ambiguity regarding how to remain in compliance with the terms therein. As time passes, however, certain terms of your divorce decree can begin to feel obsolete, impractical, or even impossible. Your children are growing up, and you and your ex’s post-divorce lives are evolving. As a result, modifications are sometimes in order. If you have questions about a potential divorce modification, call an experienced Austin post-divorce modification attorney at Philley Law today.

A Substantial Change in Circumstances

Texas laws do not favor modifications except in those circumstances in which either you, your ex, or one of your children has experienced a substantial change in circumstances in the interim since your divorce. If a year has passed since your divorce was finalized and you’ve encountered a substantial change in circumstances, you can file a petition to modify your divorce decree, which typically focuses on one of the following elements of divorce:

  • Spousal maintenance (or alimony)
  • Child Support
  • Conservatorship (or child custody arrangements)

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance refers to what you may think of as alimony. While spousal maintenance is not an issue in every divorce, the court may order it if there is a significant imbalance between the divorcing spouses’ financial situations – if one spouse has a financial deficit, and the other has the financial ability to help. If you’ve experienced a substantial change, such as a significant decrease in earnings due to a job loss or a pandemic-related furlough or layoff, you may be eligible to either receive increased maintenance payments or to decrease your maintenance payments.

Child Support

Child support payments are usually based on state calculator guidelines, but the court can take extenuating circumstances into account and recalculate your support order. A substantial change, such as a child’s increased needs or your loss of earnings, could justify a child support modification.


Texas refers to child custody as conservatorship, and the arrangements that were handed down when your children were very young may not even be relevant today. If your children have changes in schedules and activities, part-time jobs, and driver’s licenses of their own, for instance, a modification might be in order. Further, as your children mature, the court is more inclined to take their wishes into account. One parent might also need to move or adjust schedules due to a new job or other obligations.

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