If you are a non-custodial parent in Texas struggling to meet your child support obligations each month, you may wonder if there is anything you can do, like filing a motion to modify child support payments.
Perhaps you lost your job or experienced a decrease in income, making it difficult to keep up with the payments. Or, maybe the custodial parent of your children remarried, which could impact the amount you owe.
While being unable to uphold your child support duties can be stressful, it is important to know that there is a process for modifying child support orders in Texas. However, this process can be complex, so it is important to understand the ins and outs before getting started.
Where to Start with Filing a Motion to Modify Child Support
There are two ways to modify child support in Texas. You can file a Motion to Modify with the court that issued the original order or request a review for modification through the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which is the state agency responsible for enforcing child support orders in Texas.
Generally, requesting a review from the OAG is the easier and faster option. If they determine that a modification is warranted, they will file a Motion to Modify with the court on your behalf.
Going to court to file a Motion to Modify child support is a more involved process. However, it may sometimes be necessary if the OAG is unable to help. Before choosing either option, you should consult with a family law attorney like myself to discuss your best course of action. Let’s take a closer look at your options.
Option #1: Request a Review With the Attorney General’s Office
If you choose this option, you can request a review online by submitting your information to the OAG office through this website page. You can also submit the completed form by mail. Once your request has been received, someone from the agency will contact you and the child’s other parent within 30 days for more information.
The modification review process will begin once the OAG has received all of the requested information. During this process, a child support review specialist will review all prior child support orders and other relevant agreements. Using this information, they will decide whether or not you may proceed with a modification request.
Both parents will be notified in writing of the decision. If the review specialist decides you are not eligible for a modification, you have the right to appeal the decision. The OAG will schedule a negotiation appointment if your modification request is approved.
The negotiation appointment is a meeting between you, the child support review specialist, and the other parent to try to agree on the modified child support amount. If an agreement is met, the OAG will work with both parents to write a new order that a judge will then sign.
If the negotiation appointment is unsuccessful, the case will be scheduled for a court hearing. In this situation, the process looks very similar to your second option.
Option #2: File a Modification Request With the Court
If you decide to file a Motion to Modify with the court, you will need to submit the required court forms to the court in which the original child support order was issued. After the Texas court system receives your paperwork and the filing fee, they will set a hearing date.
If you work with me to provide you with representation, then we collaboratively pursue a new court order for child support. At the hearing, both you and the custodial parent will have the chance to present evidence and testimony to the judge about why the child support order should or should not be modified.
After hearing both sides, the judge will make a decision. If the judge decides that the support order should be modified, they will sign the new court order. The order will then be sent to the OAG for enforcement, and both parents may receive a copy of it to ensure that it is being followed.
Consult With an Attorney to Pursue a Modification
Modifying a child support order can be complicated, so it’s important to have an experienced Texas family law expert on your side before taking action. When you turn to my law firm, I will listen to your situation and help you understand your best legal options.
If we both agree to move forward with your case, I will be ready to provide exceptional legal representation to help you achieve your desired outcome. I currently help clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County file motions to modify child support.
If you live in one of these counties and need legal support to to file a motion to modify child support, then call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to request a consultation. I look forward to speaking with you soon.