How to Modify a Child Support Order in Texas
If you have a child support order in place, you may need to modify it if your circumstances change in some significant way. The following article will provide some helpful information about modifying an existing child support order in the state of Texas.
Required Standard of Proof for the Modification of Child Support Orders
In order to get a Texas court to modify an existing child support order, you will need to show proof of one of the following two elements:
The circumstances of the child, a conservator, or any other person affected by the child support order have materially and substantially changed; or
It has been at least three years since the last child support order was issued and a new support order, based on the applicable child support guidelines, would differ from the last support order by at least 20% or $100.
However, it should be noted that if the parents made an agreement regarding the amount of child support that differs from the established percentage guidelines in the Texas Family Code, the only method for obtaining a modification in child support from the court would be to show that there is a material and substantial change in circumstances of the child, conservator
, or any other person affected by the original support order. This is true even in situations where it has been three years since the last support order was issued and where the monthly child support obligation differs by 20% or $100 from the last order.
What is Considered a “Material and Substantial Change” in Circumstances?
Texas Family Code § 156.401 does not specifically define what a “material and substantial change” in circumstances is; rather, courts will typically decide what constitutes this kind of change on a case-by-case basis. This will usually involve the court comparing the circumstances present at the time the child support order was issued to the circumstances present at the time of the modification request. Some situations where Texas courts have found a material change in circumstances include the following:
The income of the parent ordered to pay child support has either increased or decreased significantly
The parent who was ordered to pay child support has additional children for whom they are legally responsible
The child's medical insurance coverage has changed
The child's living arrangements have changed
Should I Consult a Family Law Attorney?
You do not necessarily have to consult a family law attorney to get the court to modify a child support order. However, if your request to modify the child support order is contested by the other parent or other relevant party, it is recommended that you consult a family law attorney to better assist you with the process.
Do You Have Additional Questions Regarding Child Support Modification? Speak to a Texas Family Law Attorney
If you need additional help regarding child support modification, please contact The Law Office of Lindsey Lewis. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.