A petition or motion to modify is filed in the court where the decree was entered. The procedures from there are the same as a new proceeding for divorce. Temporary orders may be necessary. Either the parties can agree on temporary orders or a hearing will be required. Discovery can be performed by either party. Typically, a court will not hear a final motion to modify without requiring the parties to go to mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the motion to modify is set for a final hearing/trial.
Does The Same Judge Who Handled The Decree Have To Handle The Modification As Well?
The court in which a prior custody or visitation (possession and access) order was entered, has continuing jurisdiction over child issues. Therefore, if the same judge is still sitting on the bench, you will have the same judge unless jurisdiction has been lost by that court and moved to where the child is located.
Must I Have The Same Attorney Who Handled My Divorce Also Assist Me With The Modification Or Can I Hire Your Firm?
You are at liberty to hire a new attorney for your post-divorce issues. Many times people want a new set of eyes on the issues. We regularly provide services to parties who had a previous attorney.
Where Must The Modification Of A Decree Be Filed? Does It Have To Be In The Same County Where The Divorce Was Granted?
A modification of a decree of divorce must be filed in the county where the decree of divorce was finalized. For property issues, the court of entry of the decree of divorce will probably maintain jurisdiction, however, if the issues are child related, another county may now be the appropriate county for jurisdiction.
Can A Request Or Petition To Modify A Decree Be Challenged Or Opposed?
A petition or motion to modify can be contested or non-contested. If non-contested, the parties can enter into an agreed order after a motion to modify is filed. If it is contested by the other party, then the procedure is as described above.
What Is The General Timeline For A Request For Modification To Go Through?
The general timeline for a modification from start to finish is similar to a divorce. The greater the number of issues, the longer it takes to reach a final order. The lesser the number of the issues, the shorter amount of time it takes. Child issues usually take longer than property issues as people generally are more willing to fight over child issues than property issues. From start to finish, a modification of a prior decree of divorce could take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year.
Why Is It A Good Idea To Retain An Attorney For A Modification To a Divorce Decree Versus Handling It Alone?
Although Texas law has made it easier to handle matters without an attorney, it is always better to have an attorney. I’m not saying that because I’m an attorney, but rather because I have had a large number of people come in when they are in the middle of a court matter and were trying to represent themselves and the court would not approve documents they had drafted so they needed my assistance to draft documents to comply with Texas law. Additionally, if your ex-spouse has an attorney and you do not, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. There are too many rules of procedure and evidence upon which lawyers are trained and of which lay persons are not aware. If you don’t get an attorney, when your ex-spouse has an attorney, you most assuredly will lose.
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