Modifying a Child Support Order in Texas
How Can Child Support Orders Be Modified?
Modifying child support in Texas can be complicated, as you can only change child support orders by entering a new court order. Informal agreements between the parties are not effective to change the amount of court-ordered child support. Therefore, while you and the other party may agree to a change in the amount of child support to be paid, unless the agreed-to amount is recited in a new order signed by the court, the party obligated to pay the support could be required to pay the original amount ordered by the court if a dispute arises and could also be held in contempt of court and jailed.
Do You Need an Attorney to Modify Child Support in Texas?
Yes. When you’re modifying child support, your attorney can guide you through the process of getting a new court order.
If you and the other party are unable to agree to a change in the amount of child support to be paid, then an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney can help you settle the issue in court.
When Can a Child Support Order Be Modified?
It is possible to modify child support in Texas under two broad conditions. You can modify a child support order in Texas if either one of these conditions is true:
- A child support order is more than three years old and the amount of the monthly child support calculated using the statutory child support guidelines in the Texas Family Code would change by more than 20 percent or at least $100.
- The party requesting the modification proves that there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of one or more of the parties to the support order since the date the last child support order was entered with the court or a mediated or collaborative agreement on the matter was signed.
What Does a Material and Substantial Change in Circumstance Mean?
The Texas Family Code does not outline the specific circumstances that qualify as material and substantial changes to warrant a child support modification. However, several possible circumstances may qualify in Texas for modifying a child support agreement. The following changed circumstances are the most often asserted by a party seeking a child support modification:
- An increase or decrease in income
- Loss of employment
- The party paying support becoming legally responsible for the support of additional children
- Special medical, educational or psychological needs of the child
- Changes in medical insurance or coverage
- A change in the child’s living arrangements
A modification in the amount of the child support to be paid is not retroactive to the date when the change in circumstance occurred. In other words, there is no automatic increase or decrease in the amount of the support to be paid simply because a change in circumstances occurred.
Helping Families Navigate Challenging Circumstances
It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a change in circumstance has occurred to determine your rights and responsibilities. The family law attorneys at Goranson Bain Ausley are well-prepared to represent parents who are seeking to adjust child support orders. At our firm, we know that family law issues resolved during a divorce may arise again, and we are here to help you. Whether you live in Fort Worth, Granbury, Dallas, Plano, or Austin, modifying child support agreements with a lawyer is much easier than trying to go it alone. Schedule your consultation today.