When a potential client walks through the door at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan wanting to change the terms of a Texas child support order their reasons are typically very straightforward.
Typically, their income level has changed pretty dramatically and they need a decrease in the monthly amount of support owed. While a family law office such as ours is well acquainted with the process it is worth our while to discuss here to inform the inquiring public as to how to go about getting this done.
Child Support Modification
To begin, a new Court order must be sought by filing a petition to modify in the jurisdiction where the initial order was entered. (Did I mention that Harris, Montgomery, Ft. Bend, Liberty, Waller, Galveston and other southeast Texas counties are covered by the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC? Well, I just did.)
The law in Texas says that an Order can be modified in two circumstances:
- When the support order is more than three years old and the amount of the monthlychild support calculated using the statutory child support guidelines in the Texas Family Code would change by more than 20 percent, or at least $100; or
- The person/party asking the court for the modification must prove 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 the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based. The alternative option is to show the circumstances of the child(ren) have changed substantially.
With that said, the next question is what does it mean to have a material and substantial change in circumstances?
We already talked some about a change in the income of a parent, but there are other reasons as well.
The law in our State doesn't say implicitly what this means but we can look to the following as commonly occurring circumstances which can lead to modification in the amount of child support owed:
- Loss of employment
- Change in income (either an increase or decrease) of the payor-parent
- The party paying support is legally responsible for the support of additional children (payor parent had another child who they responsible to support who is not a child in the current modification case);
- Special needs of the child such as medical, educational or psychological;
- Living arrangements of the child(ren) have changed
- A child’s living arrangements have changed.
Nothing Happens Automatically
I will close this blog entry by stating what I tell each client that I come into contact with at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC: unless you contact an attorney and begin the process described above there will be no automatic modification done to your child support order just because your circumstances have changed in some manner.
Another way of saying this is that the Order is the Order until a Judge signs a new order.
Under Section 156.401(a-2)(b) of the Texas Family Code, “A support order may be modified with regard to the amount of support ordered only as to obligations accruing after the earlier of:
- the date of service of citation; or
- an appearance in the suit to modify
What this means is that the soonest you can ask for a change is from time you get your EX served with paperwork letting them know you want your child support obligation changed. If you let time go by unless your EX agrees your obligation amount is only changeable as described above.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are ready and able to take on the responsibility of your modification case. Please contact us today in order to learn more.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, TX Child Support and Custody Lawyers
Our Spring, TX Child Support and Custody Lawyers are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Child Support cases in Spring, TX or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Grimes County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.