Modifying And Enforcing Divorce Decrees

Peoples' lives change. Perhaps you got a new job with a different shift schedule. Or you lost your job and now can't afford your monthly child support or alimony obligation. Maybe your child is now a teenager and wants to move in with the noncustodial parent.

Texas family law courts understand that divorce decrees aren't written in stone. There are legal avenues people can take to make formal modifications. At Showalter Law Firm, in Richmond, our lawyers help people in the Greater Houston metropolitan area draft and submit their proposals for court approval.

Modification Of The Final Decree

At the time the final decree of divorce is entered, it is assumed that the best interest of any children of the marriage were served. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the parties, the provisions that were originally put into place may no longer serve the best interest of the children.

Modification of the final decree falls into several general areas:

  • Modification of support, upward or downward
  • Modification relating to the providing of health insurance for the child
  • Modification relating to possession and access of the child

These modifications are complex. When calculating an increase or seeking a decrease of support an accurate investigation and analysis of all facts is required. There are multiple orders necessary to implement these changes. There must be an order modifying the decree, and there must be new orders drafted to command the employer of the person obliged to pay the support to withhold and properly remit the amounts due.

When confronted with changes in the children's circumstances prompt action must be taken. Modification must be sought to maintain the method by which the insurance is obtained and who will be responsible so that the best interest of the child continue to be served. As with modifying the child support detailed and complex orders are required, the association of a competent and skilled legal team to assert your rights and develop those orders is necessary.

We can also help you with modification of child custody. Call 888-627-4042.

Modification of possession and access is often necessary due to the lifestyle changes of the parties. In some cases, something as simple as the remarriage of one or the former spouses, or relocation to another city of an former spouse. Job or professional growth or changes of a former spouse can also trigger the need to modify the original provisions of possession and access. These changes may include a spouse dramatically changing working hours, from rotating shifts to fixed work periods, or from stable local employment to employment requiring extensive long-term periods away, or changes of the opposite nature. These modifications are complex and require detailed analysis to develop possession plans in the best interest of the children. A skillful legal team that possesses empathy to your needs, to place the best interest of the child first.

Spousal Support And Child Support Enforcement

When the courts issue a decree for child support and spousal support obligations, they expect the obligor (payer) to stick to the terms of the court order. Too often, though, the courts are required to get involved when the payments don't arrive. Showalter Law Firm attorneys aggressively help individuals who need assistance with enforcement of court orders.

Wage Withholding

As a general rule, most final decrees of divorce, require the issuance of a wage withholding order. When an order is prepared and served on the employer of the person obliged to pay support, that order should provide for timely payment of the support. If the order was not prepared correctly lower or lesser amounts of support may be withheld, which over time creates a substantial arrearage.


If the person obliged to pay the support becomes unemployed, the support order is still in effect and requires compliance unless a temporary order or modification is entered providing otherwise. For the temporary arrangement or modification of the support to be effective it must be entered by the court. A "mutual agreement," no matter how formally written by the parties is ineffective to change the orders. An order by the court is required. A party obliged to pay support if they do not obey the orders of the court will accrue a substantial arrearage of the support. The party who is entitled to receive the support likewise is placed in a precarious position of being without the support.


Specific actions are needed to perfect the enforcement of the prior order, calculate the arrearage, and to calculate and ensure the collection of the interest applied to the arrearage. Further, if you are a party that has been served with an enforcement, competent legal services are required to protect your interest. The failure to pay child support in Texas can result in severe consequences including jail.

Contact Us For The Help You Need

Don't try to modify or enforce your divorce decree by yourself. The courts won't recognize any informal arrangement you make with the other party. Get legal help to work through the courts. Call Showalter Law Firm at 888-627-4042 or contact us by email.