If you are stuck paying a child support amount that does not reflect your current income, or you have learned that the parent paying support for your child changed jobs or received a raise, it may be time to modify your child support orders.
When Can Orders Be Modified?
Based on Texas Family Code section 156.401, unless parties agree to a modification, child support can only be modified under the following circumstances:
(1) the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of:
- the date of the order’s rendition; or
- the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based;
(2) it has been three years since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines.
This generally means that the parent responsible for paying child support is stuck with the amount in their current order for three years, unless there are circumstances that warrant adjusting the amount before the three-year period passes.
What Circumstances May Warrant a Change in Child Support Orders?
Examples of a material and substantial change in circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- the loss of a job
- a significant raise or pay cut
- the person paying has become responsible for other children
- or the child is now living with a different parent.
If you are attempting to modify your child support amount within three years of the order, it is a good idea to hire an experienced family law attorney to assist you. A good attorney will be able to advise you as to what the court will find to be a material and substantial change.
If three years have already passed since your child support order was entered, you will not be required to prove a change of circumstances. Instead, all you are responsible for showing is that, based on your new income, your child support amount has changed by 20 percent or $100. Regardless of what basis you are using to adjust the child support amount, there is one factor the court will always consider before adjusting your child support: the best interest of your child. Even if the other criteria are met, the court can deny your request to modify if it finds that the change is not in the best interest of your child.
Contact our Burleson Family Law Office Today
If you have questions about modifying your current child support order contact our Fort Worth or Burleson family law office today.