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What to do when your Texas child support order no longer works

If you are going through a divorce, decisions regarding child custody and support are based on the circumstances at the time of your divorce. Sometimes, the terms of the divorce decree are appropriate for many years but, in many cases, they aren't.

If your initial child support order no longer seems to be working for you, you may be able to have a Texas court reevaluate your case. An attorney can help you come up with an arrangement that works better for you and your family.

Who can file for a modification?

Either the custodial or the noncustodial parent can request a modification of an original support order. However, certain circumstances must exist before your request will be considered. For example:

  • Time: It should be at least three years since the original support order was created.
  • Financial change: The amount of support sought by the modification must change by at least 20 percent or $100 if the modification is granted. This amount is based on the current child support guidelines.
  • Material change: A substantial material change must have occurred since the last time your case was reviewed.

What is a material change in circumstances?

Before you can request a modification, you must be able to show that a material change has occurred. Such changes include:

  • An increase or decrease of the non-custodial parent's income
  • The noncustodial parent becomes legally responsible for additional children
  • Changes in medical insurance coverage
  • Alteration of the children's living arrangements

An easier alternative may be available

The most efficient path for obtaining a child support modification is through the Child Support Review Process (CSRP). Modifications made using this process require that both parents agree to the requested changes. These cases tend to be faster - and less expensive - than those that require court hearings.

A parent may feel the need to reduce the amount of support paid for a time - possibly due to a job layoff or an extended illness - with the expectation of paying more once recovered. In this case, a temporary order may be granted and a review of the circumstances scheduled within 6 months.

Get the help you need

No matter your circumstances, a child support lawyer from the law firm of Nix|Poet can help you determine whether a formal request for a child support review is appropriate. An experienced attorney will also help you choose the path that is most appropriate for your circumstances.

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