Couples who take great pains to draft a detailed marital termination agreement in a divorce case can find that their post-divorce lives change in unexpected ways and that the divorce decree no longer fits one or both individual situations. This circumstance is especially common for divorced couples with minor children or jobs that require frequent travel.
Texas divorce law permits the divorcing parties to agree to modify the original divorce order by mutual agreement. If former spouses elect to follow this course, they must present their agreement to the court for review and approval. If the couple has minor children and one ex-spouse has decided to move to another state, the original order should be modified and approved by the court with specific reference to the children’s residence. Failure to obtain the court’s approval may invalidate the order if one spouse seeks to enforce it.
If the ex-spouses cannot agree on how to modify the order, they must apply to the court for a modification of the order. Such a motion can be made by either party and can involve any of several issues, such as the amount of child support paid by one parent, child custody, child visitation or place of residence. The moving party is required to present evidence demonstrating why the modification is necessary. If the proposed change affects the children, the moving party must be prepared to prove that the change promotes the best interests of the child. The moving party must also prove that the circumstances of one or both of the divorced parties have experienced substantial and material changes in their living circumstances. The failure to present this type of evidence usually means that the court will deny the motion for the amendment.