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Specialty tag(s): Child Support, Child Custody, Modification and Enforcement

How to Change a Child Support or Child Custody Order

Ally Caskey | July 1, 2022

What changes would warrant a modification of child support or child custody order?

With regards to a child custody order, a parent would want to modify a prior order if the schedule is no longer working for the parent or child. A parent or conservator would request a modification in a child support order if they are seeking to reduce the amount that they have to pay or increase the amount that is paid to them. An example of when someone would want to modify a child custody order is if there is now drug abuse or alcohol abuse that was not present at the time of the prior order. If a parent is seeking to move to a different state, or if a child is 12 years or older and is willing to tell the court that they no longer want to live with the primary parent.

What wouldn’t warrant a change in a child custody order?

Examples that wouldn’t warrant a change in a child custody order would be a temporary or insignificant change, such as the parent seeking to move across the city that they are currently living in, or the child merely getting older. Some examples that warrant a change in child support are if the fee-earning parent has lost their job or had a significant income increase. On the other hand, if the receiving parent changed their relationship status, that would most likely not warrant a child support modification.

I want to modify a child support order. Where do I start?

The first step someone should take in modifying a child support order would be to talk to an attorney. These cases are very complex, and courts are not eager to modify an existing order. The person requesting to modify a prior order would have to file a petition and properly serve the other party, and the other party would have to file an answer. If the parties are in agreement about the modification order, they would simply submit a proposed order to the court. If they are not in agreement, the requesting party would have to set the case for a final hearing and would have to prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the prior order. Either way, it is up to the judge to decide if the order is in the best interest of the child.

Don’t wait.

Our top piece of advice for someone who is seeking to modify a child support or child custody order is: don’t wait. For example, if a parent paying child support income has drastically increased, the other parent can’t go back and get retroactive child support of what they could have been receiving before the time they filed the modification case.

Learn More

Ally is well-versed in the practice of family law; her goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of her clients and their children. Ally has been with Goranson Bain Ausley since 2014; she worked in a legal capacity from 2017-2021, starting as a legal assistant and then as a law clerk. Her journey from law clerk to an associate attorney has given Ally a strong understanding of Goranson Bain Ausley’s constructive and strategic approach to help clients protect assets, control costs, and achieve the most beneficial results. She is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, where she was named to the Dean’s List and served as President of the Family Law Association. During her time at SMU, Ally worked as an attorney ad litem for children in the foster care system at the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, which inspired her interest in cases involving children.

If you have questions about child support or child custody modification, please contact Ally Murphy at 214-473-9696.

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