What Terms in a Decree of Divorce Can be Modified?


By Nancy L. Rommelmann PLLC | Family Law Attorney –

Nancy L. Rommelmann PLLC

A court can modify terms of a Divorce Decree for Conservatorship (custody), possession and access (visitation) and child support (including an order for health care coverage). Regarding a modification for conservatorship or possession and access, the law is as follows:

Modification of Conservatorship or Possession and Access:

The court may modify an order if the modification is in the best interest of the child and:

1. The circumstances of the child, a conservator or other party affected by the order have “materially and substantially changed” (legal terms of art) since the earlier of the date a. the order, was rendered or b. the mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement was signed; or

2. The child is at least 12 years old and has expressed to the judge in chambers the person who the child would like to live with; or

3. The conservator who has the right to designate the primary residence of the child has voluntarily relinquished the child to another person for at least six months.

A court can render temporary orders in a modification that effectively changes the designation of the person, under the final order, who can determine where the child resides, only if:

1. The order is necessary because the child’s present circumstance “significantly impairs the child’s physical health or emotional development” or # 2 or # 3 above is proven.

Modifications can be done by agreement of the parties, subject to the court’s approval of the agreement.


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