Parents often call my office seeking to know their options to modify an existing child support court order in Texas. Most of the time, this is because their life circumstances have changed so dramatically that they can no longer meet the terms of the original child support order.
If you are in this situation, I can help walk you through the process of modifying a court order through the Texas legal system. First, though, let me give you some background on how child support works in Texas.
Texas child support orders include the required amount that a non-custodial parent will pay the custodial parent for child support payments. The courts establish the amount of money that the non-custodial parent pays for the child’s financial benefit.
Only a court can modify these payments. If you lose your job, or begin to make less income, your child support will not automatically be lowered or stopped. You must file a suit to modify your child support obligation to change it in any way. During a hearing, the court will consider certain valid reasons to modify child support. That’s why I recommend working with an experienced family law attorney to help you present the strongest argument for your situation.
Keys to a Successful Child Support Modification in Texas
Parents can complete a child support modification in Texas one of two ways.
1. You can wait until three years have passed since the last child support court order was issued to pursue a modification. If your new desired amount is at least 20% — or $100 — different from the previously ordered amount, whichever is less, then you should file a modification for the court to consider your case.
2. If you have experienced a “material and substantial” change in your circumstances, then you can bypass the three-year window and request a modification. Here are situations that may be deemed “material and substantial” to support your case:
- A dramatic decrease in the income of the non-custodial parent
- A change in health insurance coverage that affects the child
- A significant change in the child’s living conditions
- The custodial parent has re-married, and the new spouse is capable of providing
- The non-custodial parent has become legally responsible for more children.
Additionally, when a non-custodial parent loses their job, is unemployed, or retires from active duty, this is commonly considered a material and substantial change. Therefore, a modification of child support payments in Texas is feasible.
One complication is what happens if the custodial parent lives in a different state and you live in Texas. If the first child support order was not issued in Texas, then Texas will not handle the child support modification for your case. Therefore, you will have to adhere to the rules of the state where the custodial parent lives.
Filling a Request for Review of the Modification in Texas
Keep in mind that in Texas, only a court can change the child support you must pay. You cannot start paying a lesser amount, even if both parents agree on the lesser amount. The new amount must be legally determined through a child support modification in Texas.
I can help you walk through this process, and I will help you build the strongest possible case for the child support order to be modified. Together, we can work toward a positive outcome helping better align your situation with the terms of court-ordered child support.
Find Help From an Experienced Family Law Attorney
I understand you may be in a tough situation trying to continue making monthly child support payments that are no longer feasible. That’s why it is in your best interest to seek legal help early in the process when you are considering the reasons to modify child support.
Act now to get started on the process so that I can review your financial situation and support the filing of any legal documents for a modification. Having an expert attorney guide you through the complexities of the Texas legal system can save you time, hassle, and a potentially bad outcome.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation. I help parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County, just like you, resolve their child support situation through a modification.