Attorneys for Arbitration to Modify Divorce Decrees
After you’ve gone through the emotionally difficult divorce process and have received your final divorce decree, you’ve likely tried your best to move forward with your life and start anew. Unfortunately, new issues can arise that may necessitate a change to your divorce decree.
If you or your former spouse are seeking a change to your divorce decree, you need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process and help ensure that the issue is resolved in your favor. Call the San Antonio arbitration attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. at (210) 349-9933 today or contact us online. We can help advocate on your behalf for your best interests. Contact us for a free consultation.
If significant changes or events have occurred in your or your former spouse’s lives that may affect a former order about alimony (spousal support), child custody, child support, or parenting time and visitation, then either of you may choose to file a Request for Modification of your divorce decree. Requests for modification are generally only considered when there is a substantial change in either former spouses’ circumstances from the date the divorce decree was initially finalized. Below are common issues related to alimony, child custody, child support, and parenting time that some spouses may present as cause for modification.
Modifications to Alimony (Spousal Support)
Spousal maintenance is awarded to spouses so that they can reasonably support themselves after marriage. The court may award a spouse temporary spousal maintenance that may last up to either five, seven, or ten years depending on the length of the marriage. During that time, the receiving spouse should be obtaining training or education to improve their earning ability so that they can provide for themselves.
If the paying former spouse suspects that the receiving former spouse isn’t making the necessary effort to become self-sufficient, they may seek to have their divorce decree modified. Perhaps the receiving former spouse has experienced a significant change in their ability to become self-sufficient. They may request a modification to the spousal maintenance award to increase the spousal maintenance they receive.
Or if the paying former spouse has a substantial decrease in income or lost their job, that spouse may seek to have their divorce decree modified because they can no longer afford to both support themselves and continue paying the same amount in spousal maintenance. Likewise, if the receiving former spouse gets remarried, they are no longer entitled to receive spousal maintenance. In that case, the paying former spouse may want to request the spousal maintenance order be modified.
Modifications to Child Support
Child support is determined using several factors regarding both spouses’ income as well as the custody arrangement for the children. Often, the parent with primary physical custody is paid child support consistent with the consideration of financial factors. The goal of child support is to provide adequate financial support for the needs of the child.
But former spouses’ circumstances and the needs of the children can change, and a current child support order may need to be modified. The paying former spouse may be experiencing a significant decrease in income or financial hardship and may not be able to afford the ordered child support payments. That former spouse may seek to have the child support order modified. The receiving former spouse may have also lost their job and may request to have their child support payments increased to help them care for the child. Either former spouse will have to provide documentation as to why the modification is needed.
Modifications to Child Custody
The objective when determining child custody is to act in the best interests of the child. Whether both parents have both legal and physical custody of the child or one parent has physical custody of the child, each spouse’s circumstances can change where their ability to properly care for the child or to abide by the child custody arrangement is affected.
If one parent experiences significant financial hardship, they may no longer be able to properly care for the child and either they or their spouse may request a modification of the child support order. One parent may become ill to the point that it impacts their ability to care for the child, in which event the child support order may need to be modified. Finally, a parent may need to relocate for an employment opportunity. This could significantly conflict with the child custody arrangement, and a modification may need to be made.
Modifications to Parenting Time (Visitation)
Parenting time or visitation is incredibly important for the wellbeing of the child and the maintenance of the parental relationship between spouses and their children. Visitation that has already been agreed to and ordered may need to be modified if there is a significant issue that arises after the fact. Suppose, for instance, one parent is no longer able to abide by the visitation order due to a change in their employment obligations. That parent may seek to have the visitation order modified. A similar reason for modifying the child custody order, parental relocation, may necessitate modifying a visitation order.
Arbitration for Modifying Divorce Decrees in Texas
Arbitration is an informal legal proceeding that involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between you and your former spouse for you both to resolve any outstanding issues. During arbitration, your lawyer will advocate for your best interests. At the end of the arbitration, the arbitrator will render a final decision.
Just as arbitration is a beneficial mechanism to resolve disputes in divorce proceedings to finalize a divorce, arbitration can be used to modify divorce decrees. Particularly if you and your former spouse don’t agree to the modification(s) being requested, you both can seek resolution through arbitration.
Why Choose Us?
The Board Certified family law attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. have experience representing clients in a range of family law matters. We’ve spent decades helping clients throughout San Antonio navigate their challenging and delicate family law issues. Our hard work and the results we’ve achieved for our clients have been recognized by various organizations and legal publications, including the San Antonio Bar Association and San Antonio Magazine.
If you or your former spouse are seeking to modify your divorce decree through arbitration, call the arbitration family law attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. today at (210) 349-9933 or contact us online. The consultation is free.