How to lower your child support obligation in Texas
In the event that you’ve lost your job, your pay has been decreased or any scenario in between occurs you will want to know your rights when it comes to lowering your child support obligation in Texas. The next step after knowing your rights in acting on them and taking steps towards getting a court to approve that lowered amount. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are here to assist you in learning more about why a person may be able to lower their child support obligation as well as the best means for doing so.
You lost your job. Now what?
In the event that you lose your job or become disabled it is in your best interest to contact the court your order comes from and to also contact the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General. However, simply doing these things will not lower your child support obligation if you don’t take any further action. The next step you must take to file a lawsuit requesting a modification of your child support and to eventually gain an order signed off by the judge allowing you to do so.
The most important part in this discussion is not so much what you will owe in any future payments but what you will owe when it comes to back child support payments. What I have seen happen all too frequently is that a mother or father loses their job and simply is not able to pay child support for many months- possibly even longer. It is true that a court can sometimes reduce your arrearage amount if you provide them with a satisfactory explanation but if you wait too long to do so there is nothing they can do to apply a discount. The amount you owe will be the amount you have to pay and what’s more, interest begins to be applied rather quickly making that arrearage amount grow even more than it ordinarily would if no interest were applicable.
The moral of the story here is that you should contact the Office of the Attorney General as soon as you begin to fall behind and to provide proof of your decrease in income. At this time you can ask that your payments be reduced according to the amount of the decrease in your income. If you have no income at all then a court can apply an amount of support based on what a person would earn working at a minimum wage occupation. A temporary or permanent reduction in your child support obligation may be available to you.
Modification of Child Support Obligation
If you hire an attorney in an attempt to reduce your child support obligation you must be able to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that has affected your ability to pay child support. You may also show, in the alternative, that it has been more than three years since the child support order has been rendered by the court and that the amount you are currently obligated to pay differs from the amount you should be paying based on your current income by either twenty percent or $100.
Do not attempt to work out an informal arrangement with your child’s other parent
One issue that I have seen come back to haunt clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is that some believe that they can simply come to a “handshake” agreement with their child’s other parent to lower the support obligation without having to go through the trouble of going to court. What I have seen happen is that this arrangement may work out for a short period of time while both parents are happy with one another and the random costs of life are minimal. However, once something comes up- an unexpected bill, increase in the cost in daycare, etc.- that goodwill the other parent feels towards the other begins to dissipate. A situation then occurs where the parent who pays child support must either return to paying the higher amount or the parent to whom the support is paid will go to court and ask the judge to hold the parent who owes child support in contempt of the court order.
Change in costs to see your child can result in changes in child support
If you find yourself in a situation where you are the parent with whom the child lives primarily and the other parent never takes advantage of their periods of possession that leaves you with more responsibility for the child in terms of paying for the necessities of life while he or she is in your care. If this situation sounds familiar you may be able to go back and get an increase in the child support figure to be paid by your child’s other parent. This would be done in order to compensate for the increased costs you incur due to the other parent’s failure to take possession of the child during his or her scheduled periods of possession.
On the other hand, if you are a parent who pays child support to your child’s other parent and that parent moves far away from you then you may have the ability to get a decrease in the child support figure you are obligated to pay. The reason for this is because you can present the argument that due to the moving parent’s actions, your costs associated with taking advantage of your periods of possession have increased due to travel costs.
Additional Questions on lowering child support? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today
Child Support is an important aspect of family law and one that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have a great deal of experience practicing in. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe your child support obligation is more than what you should be paying based off your present circumstances please do not hesitate to contact our office. A consultation can be set up between yourself and one of our licensed family law attorneys where your questions can be answered.