San Antonio Order Modification and Enforcement Attorneys
Reliable legal help for managing family court orders in South Texas
If you are subject to any court-ordered agreement, like child custody or child support, you signed those orders according to your personal and financial circumstances at the time. However, life changes and for many, so do those circumstances. You or your ex-spouse may find it difficult to adhere to your original agreement. Don’t make the mistake of just ignoring the rules, as you could find yourself facing fines or even contempt charges.
If you feel the original terms of your court order need a second look, talk to the San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC about an order modification. We can also help if you need assistance in enforcing an existing order. With our decades of combined legal experience, our team will examine your case and guide you toward the best possible resolution for you and your family. Contact us today.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"I have had the pleasure of working with Matthew Grimshaw for almost six months and throughout my representation he has been honest, compassionate and has listened very intently to what I want as a client…I have full confidence in this legal team for recognizing what’s in my best interests." – Marcos V.
What is order modification?
Texas Family Code provides that any court order affecting the parent-child relationship can be modified, if warranted under certain circumstances. To justify modifying a court order, the petitioner must show a “material and substantial change” in life circumstances. These may differ depending on whether you are seeking a change in a child custody order or a child support order.
Modifying a child custody order
If you are a parent requesting a modification in your child custody order, you must prove the following to the court:
- The child is 12 years of age or older and has expressed a desire to change primary custody
- The circumstances of a parent have significantly and substantially changed
Any change to a custody order must be first and foremost in the best interests of the child. A substantial change in circumstances can include:
- A significant increase or decrease in a parent’s income
- A parent is relocated due to their job
- A parent remarries
- A parent develops a medical condition making them unable to care for the child
- The child’s school or activity schedule changes
- A parent is convicted of a crime
- A parent commits child abuse or family violence
- A parent’s alcohol or drug abuse is affecting their ability to care for the child
If petitioning to modify an order, you must be able to submit an affidavit supporting your claims, otherwise the court may deny your request.
Modifying a child support order
To modify a child support order in Texas, one of the following conditions must exist:
- The child support order was established or last modified at least three years ago
- The monthly child support amount (as put forth by Texas child support guidelines) changed by at least 20% or $100
- A material and substantial change has occurred since the order was established
For child support modifications, the court considers substantial and material changes like:
- Significant increase or increase in non-custodial parent’s income
- Non-custodial parent becomes responsible for additional children
- Changes in child’s health insurance coverage or medical needs
- Changes in non-custodial parent’s employment status
- Changes in custody
- Changes in the child’s medical, educational, or psychological needs
The San Antonio order modification attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can help you gather the information you need to file for a change in your custody or support order.
What is order enforcement?
After a divorce or split, your spousal maintenance, child custody, or child support is finalized through a court order – which means that both you and your ex are legally responsible for following through on those obligations. Under Texas family code, a request for order of enforcement must:
- Identify the part of the order violated
- The manner of the individual’s non-compliance
- The manner of relief requested
You may need an order of enforcement in situations when your ex-spouse is failing to pay spousal maintenance or child support, or is refusing to provide your court-ordered visitation with your child.
Enforcing a child custody order
Some of the common ways a parent may violate a custody or possession order can include:
- Refusing or failing to bring a child back to a parent after visitation
- Failure to show up for a custody exchange
- Taking a child out of the country without the other parent’s permission
- Making important decisions about the child’s welfare without the right to do so (medical, educational, or religious)
- Deliberately interfering with the other person’s parenting time
- Engaging in dangerous or prohibited activities around the child (drug or alcohol use)
In cases of isolated incidents, you and the other parent may be able to resolve your issues outside of the courtroom with the help of an experienced attorney. However, in cases where the child’s well-being or safety is in danger, you may need to file an order of enforcement. To do so, you must show a judge evidence of a pattern of violations, which is why it’s important to document everything – and ensure that you yourself have followed custody orders to the letter.
Enforcing an order for child custody means asking the court for remedy, or relief. One of these remedies is contempt of court, which can result in the parent receiving fines, probation, or even jail time. The court may also award you make-up time with your child, or reimbursement for expenses paid for your efforts in trying to visit with your child.
The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can help with orders of enforcement whether you would like to negotiate a mutually agreeable solution, or represent you in court.
Enforcing a child support order
If the parent responsible for providing child support (the obligor) falls behind or stops paying, the receiving parent (oblige) has the right to enforce the order. If your child support has fallen into arrears, it’s important to act quickly. Although you can directly contact the Texas Office of the Attorney General for assistance, working with a San Antonio order enforcement lawyer can help speed up the process.
You may want to consider enforcing your child support order as soon as the other parent begins to fall into arrears, as the Texas Attorney General’s Office generally has a large caseload and you should get started quickly. Another good time to consider enforcement is if the parent is violating other orders, like child custody. It can be more efficient to address multiple violations at once.
Potential consequences for violation of child support can include:
- Loss of license, including drivers, professional, hunting, and fishing
- Denial of passport
- Report of non-payment to credit bureaus
- Interception of lottery winnings
- Civil or criminal contempt of court charges
Violation of a child support order can result in financial penalties or jail time. Our attorneys can work with you, whether you are looking to enforce an order or whether you are having trouble paying your child support. We can help negotiate an agreement without involving the court or, if that is impossible, we can represent your and your child’s best interests.
Can I enforce a spousal maintenance order?
Yes. Texas family code also addresses violations of spousal maintenance and alimony. Possible consequences of failure to pay alimony can include contempt of court, fines, wage garnishment, or other penalties set by the court. However, the individual is first entitled to a hearing where they may defend themselves to the court with evidence demonstrating why they were unable to pay.
The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can explain this process in more detail, as well as assist you whether you need an order enforced, or if you are experiencing problems fulfilling your obligations.
Hardworking San Antonio order modification and enforcement lawyers
Here at Grable Grimshaw PLLC, we understand the process of navigating court orders can be complex and confusing. If you need assistance modifying a family law order, or feel your ex-partner is in violation of an order, let us provide knowledgeable guidance. To set up a consultation in our San Antonio offices, call 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form. We’re proud to serve clients throughout South Texas.