Exploring Child Support Deviations and Modifications

In our earlier conversation, we delved into scenarios where the typical Guideline child support levels outlined in the Texas Family Code might not be applicable, such as instances of non-guideline child support. It’s important to keep in mind that, as a conscientious parent responsible for child support, your behavior can profoundly impact the court’s determination of the necessary payment amount, irrespective of your income level.

Several Key Factors in Determining Child Support

When determining your monthly child support obligation, the court considers numerous factors. The age of your child plays a critical role, as it may involve additional expenses, such as extracurricular activities or private school fees, depending on their age.

The child’s specific needs are also essential, especially if they have mental or physical disabilities requiring specialized care or regular doctor visits. In such cases, the court might deviate from guideline support amounts.

Another significant factor is the possession schedule between you and the other parent. If you’ve agreed to less possession time than standard, it may impact the financial responsibility on the other parent during your allotted periods, potentially leading to increased child support payments by you.

Conversely, if you’re also responsible for spousal support, the court may consider this when calculating child support. The court may adjust child support accordingly if you’re paying spousal support because it’s paid directly to your ex-spouse, even though child support covers basic needs.

Non-guideline Child Support

Non-guideline child support refers to a child support arrangement that does not follow the standard child support guidelines set by the state. It may come into play when specific circumstances or factors make it inappropriate or unjust to apply the standard guidelines. Courts may deviate from these guidelines and make a non-guideline child support order after considering various factors such as:

1. High income: When one or both parents have high incomes that exceed the guidelines. The court may deviate from the standard calculations to ensure that the child’s needs are adequately met.

2. Extraordinary expenses: If a child has special needs or significant medical, educational, or other expenses. The court may adjust child support to account for these additional costs.

3. Shared custody: In cases of joint physical custody or shared parenting time. Courts may consider the time each parent spends with the child and adjust child support accordingly.

4. Educational or healthcare needs: Non-guideline child support may be ordered to cover specific educational or healthcare expenses, such as private school tuition or extensive medical treatments.

5. High debt or financial hardship: If the noncustodial parent has substantial debts or is facing financial hardship. The court may deviate from the guidelines to ensure fairness while still meeting the child’s needs.

Courts typically make non-guideline child support orders on a case-by-case basis, carefully considering the unique circumstances involved. 

Modifying Child Support Orders in Texas

To modify a previous child support order in Texas, you must meet certain criteria. There must be a material and substantial change in circumstances for you, your child, or the other parent since the previous order was signed, a mediated settlement agreement was reached, or three years have passed since the last order. The change must result in a 20 percent or $100 difference from the current appropriate amount.

It’s important to understand that modifying child support isn’t a simple process. Some mistakenly believe they can return later to adjust the support amount, but it’s generally better to ensure the correct amount initially.

This is particularly relevant if you and the other parent previously deviated from the standard Guideline amount. In such cases, future modifications can only occur if there’s been a material and substantial change in circumstances for either party.

The relevant period starts when we sign the order or reach a mediated agreement, and then serve the responding party with modification paperwork. If you’re the petitioner, the burden is on you to prove a material and substantial change occurred during this timeframe. To delve deeper into this subject, join us tomorrow as we conclude our discussion on child support in Texas.


Our discussion has shed light on the complexities surrounding child support in Texas, particularly in cases where non-guideline child support is applicable. We’ve explored how deviations from the standard Guideline child support levels outlined in the Texas Family Code can arise due to various factors and circumstances. Moreover, we’ve emphasized the crucial role of responsible parental conduct in influencing the court’s decisions regarding child support payments, underscoring the importance of maintaining a cooperative and supportive approach throughout the process.

Navigating child support matters can be challenging, especially when non-guideline child support considerations come into play. However, with a clear understanding of the relevant legal principles and a commitment to fostering positive communication and cooperation, parents can effectively address these complexities and reach equitable solutions that prioritize the well-being of their children.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
  2. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  3. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  4. Examining the newest Texas law on child support enforcement
  5. New Texas child support law seeks to hold impaired drivers accountable
  6. What Kind of Support Does a Guardian Provide in a Family?
  7. Child Support Modifications: Adapting to Economic Shifts and Life Changes
  8. Child Support for your special needs child
  9. How Can a Father Stop Paying Child Support In Texas?
  10. How Often Is Child Support Reviewed In Texas?
  11. Can a Child Sue a Parent For Back Child Support In Texas?
  12. Will You Go To Jail For Back Child Support In Texas?
  13. What Is The Bare Minimum For Child Support In Texas?
  14. What To Expect At a Child Support Review Hearing In Texas
  15. What Is Used To Determine Child Support In Texas?
  16. Clearing up rumors about child support in Texas
  17. Navigating Child Support Modifications: A Comprehensive Guide
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