If circumstances have changed since a child support order first went into effect, seeking a modification may be appropriate.
When the parents of a child do not live together, usually as the result of a divorce, both parents will continue to have a financial obligation to the child. Because the court assumes that the child’s primary caregiver (custodial parent) is meeting this duty by virtue of caring for the child and having the child in their physical presence, it is the non-custodial parent who will be ordered to make child support payments.
At the time that a child support order goes into effect, it is based primarily on the income of the parents. While an order may be appropriate at the time that it is issued, circumstances may change later on. If they do, modification of the support order may be necessary. Here is what you need to know about modifying a child support order in Texas.
When Can You Modify a Child Support Order?
As found on the website of the Texas Attorney General, a parent who is paying child support can request a modification of a support order when:
- The order was established more than three years ago; and
- The current amount of child support that is being paid differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be ordered if the order were issued today; or
- There has been a material change in circumstances since the time that the support order was originally issued; or
- The child is now living with a different parent (i.e. custody of the child has changed).
How Easy is it to Modify a Child Support Order?
If the order was established more than three years ago and there is a variation of at least 20% or $100 between the existing order and what would likely be ordered today, or the custody of the child has switched, modifying a child support order is very straightforward. If you are seeking a modification based on a material change in circumstances, however, the process may be a bit more complicated as the burden of proving that a change in circumstances has occurred and that the change warrants a modification will fall on you.
A material change in circumstances usually refers to one of three different situations:
- The parent who is paying child support has experienced an increase or decrease in their income;
- The parent who is paying child support is now legally responsible for additional children; or
- The medical/health insurance coverage of the child has changed.
How a Texas Lawyer Can Help
Even if you have all of the right evidence to back up your request to modify a child support order, it is important that you understand that modification is still a legal process that can be time-consuming and complex, especially if the modification is contested. At the office of Musemeche Law, P.C., our experienced child support and family law attorney can help you to navigate the process of requesting a modification of a child support order. To learn more about modifying a child support order in Texas, please call our law firm directly today or send us a message at your convenience.