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Changes in expenses can call for changes in child support

Child support is one of those subjects that can be extremely tedious for parties to discuss with in a divorce. No matter what position you are in, whether you are the party who will be paying child support or the party who will be receiving child support, you likely hold the position that the Child Support payments in place for your case are not quite what you would want them to be. Either you would want the payments to be more money if you are the parent who is primarily responsible for caring for your child or you would want the payments to be less money if you are the parent who is responsible for making child support payments. either way you are probably not happy with the result of your divorce or child custody case when it comes to child support.

Before we go any further, I will weigh in on the side of parents who are responsible for paying child support. You may be the parent who primarily cares for your child and thus receives child support payments each month. You may have had experiences with your child's other parent in which he or she was not always happy beyond belief to pay you child support. This may have, understandably, led to your thinking that he or she was selfish and didn't want to care for their child throughout the year. However, I would like to offer a defense of the parent who typically pays child support in these scenarios. 

In my years as a family law attorney I have not met one parent who does not want what is best for their children. Now, that may mean something different to you than what it means to me. I cannot think of one parent who I encountered in my time as a family law attorney who would not tell you that they want what is best for their child. In their heart of hearts parents believe that they are doing what is best for their children. Whether or not that parent actually knows what is best for their child is a different subject altogether. However, parents typically make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of their child. 

This brings us to the subject of child support. If you are angry at an ex-spouse because he or she has not always been A happy pay or of child support, then you should look at it from his or her perspective. Many parents who are responsible for paying child support believe that they would be better off putting that money into a college fund for their child or paying for other costs associated with that child's upbringing. Much of the resentment towards paying child support has nothing to do with the money itself but, rather that it goes directly to you rather than directly to your child. Accountability for how the money is used is at the core of these issues.

Today's blog post subject does not have much to do with the psychology or any animosity regarding child support and how it is utilized into whom it is paid. However, I feel like this is an issue that interest many parents going through the divorce or child custody process in his one that I would like to deal with in this setting while the subject was on my mind. My overall point is that you should not assume the worst of your co- parent and think that he or she only wants to rip you off or be cheap with your child. In their mind, he or she may believe that the money spent in child support could be better spent elsewhere or at least better paid directly to the child than to you. 

How is child support allocated and calculated in Texas? 

Before we engage in any meaningful discussion on the subject of child support, we should first discuss how it is that one parent comes to receive child support and the other one comes to pay and then how child support is actually calculated. Child support is a means by which you as a parent R able to remain engaged in the child rearing process even if your child does not live with you on a full-time basis. The parent with whom the child lives primarily will not only be able to designate that child's primary residence but will also be able to receive child support on behalf of that child. This is one of the reasons why parents tend to fight so hard to be able to be designated as the child's primary conservator. 

Once you or your co-parent are named as primary conservator then you are able to determine the primary residence of your child and, in all likelihood, received child support. Your ability to receive child support will remain in place unless and until you lose the right to determine your child's primary residence. Once it is determined which parent will actually receive child support in which parent will pay child support then we need to get into how child support is calculated. 

Child support calculation can ytpically be a straightforward experience. For instance, the Texas family code contains guideline levels of child support which are outlined and utilized by many families going through child custody and divorce cases. You can Reviewed the language in the code if you are interested but for the purposes of our blog post today all you need to know is that a percentage of your co-parents net monthly income will be paid to you for child support each month. The percentage of your co-parent’s net monthly income that he or she will be responsible for paying tends to be between 20 and 50%. The fewer children you have the lower the percentage will be. Likewise, the more children you have the higher the percentage will be. 

Now that we have answered the questions regarding how is it that one parent gets to receive child support and how much will child support be the next issue we need to tackle is what can a parent do in order to change the amount of child support that is paid in the future. The answer to this question means that we will need to figure out a little bit more about the subject of child support modifications and how they fit into your specific circumstances given fluctuations in income and expenses for the child. 

Modifying a family court order in Texas 

At the core of modifying it a family court order due to changes and expenses associated with child support into discussion on How a modification request can be granted by a Texas family court judge. Family court judges will not immediately modify a court order unless there is a specific reason to do so. That reason must be in the best interest of your child and must come along with a material in substantial change in the circumstances of you, Your co-parent or one of your children. In order to have your modification request approved you must present evidence to substantiate your position that a material or substantial change in your circumstances has occurred. 

This is a somewhat high hurdle for most people to clear. The reason why this hurdle can be difficult for many parties to clear is that the parties either do not wait long enough to modify their order or the circumstances do not merit a modification. That's not to say that a smaller modification in One Direction or the other cannot be attained by filing the modification case. Usually, however, it means that you and your co-parent will agree to negotiate through whatever issue the modification was filed for and a middle ground will be reached on a settlement. 

When it comes to child support there are a number of reasons why a modification may be requested. For one, the income of the parent who pays child support may have changed since the parties were last in family court. For example, if your ex-spouse’s income has recently increased then you may want to file a modification request to have their child's propagation increased. Likewise, if your ex-spouse’s income has decreased then he or she may file a modification request to have their child support obligation decreased. If the Proper amount of child support based on the new income differs by 20% or $100 from the current level support, then the general rule of thumb is that the request to modify the Child Support amount will be granted. 

Changes in expenses as a motivator to modify the level of child support 

At some point in your life after a family law case your expenses associated with raising a child may have changed. That increase in childcare expenses may be associated with the need to put your child into daycare if you have gotten a job or maybe related to medical care that your child requires due to a condition that arose after the end of your initial family court case. If you find yourself in a position where your child has increased costs of care since the end of your family court case, then you will likely need to file a modification petition in seeking to have the level of child support that you receive increased. 

What I would do right off of the bat is too figure out what the monthly expenditures associated with this care actually is. The more specific you can be in the more evidence you can have to base your request on the better off he will be in the more likely your petition to modify will be granted. The nice part about requesting to modify a child support order is that you can prove that a substantial change in your circumstances has occurred merely by presenting an accounting of your bills now compared to what they were at the time of your divorce or initial child custody case. There isn't a lot of subjectivity to a discussion like this. 

It may be possible for you and your co-parent to discuss your modification attempt prior to a hearing and have the issue resolved on its own. I think that sometimes parties to a modification case are surprised that a resolution to this matter may be gained through simple discussion with the other parent. It does not take a lot to have a civil conversation about the needs of your child. My advice would be to make each of your arguments for an increased to the Child Support obligation based on the proven needs of your child. If you focus more on what your child needs and less on what you need to pay your bills, then I think you would be better served.

Overall, the child support modification case is one that can be complex. As such, you would be well served too contact and speak to an experienced family law attorney before filing your case. A modification case has more moving pieces than many child custody cases do. As a result, having someone by your side with experience handling matters such as these can be a great leg up for you to enter your case with. An attorney can also help you focus more on the needs of your child and help you to come up with strategies that will both help you in mediation and in a trial setting. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material presented in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations can be a great opportunity for you to learn more about the world of family law as well as how an experienced family law attorney can help guide you during a legal matters such as the one you are facing. Thank you for your interest in our blog post today and we hope that you will join us again tomorrow as we share more information about the world of Texas family law. 


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