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How to modify a child support order

There are many reasons that a parent may want to modify an existing child support order. Texas law allows for the modification of these orders under certain circumstances. In all cases, the judge must sign off on the modification before it takes effect.

Modifying child support is relatively easy if all parties agree to the change. The matter becomes mostly one of paperwork. The person seeking the change must file a petition to modify the child support agreement. Since the case in uncontested, the judge will usually sign off on the agreement so long as it is also in the child's best interest. It is important to keep in mind that the judge must sign off before any changes can be enacted. For example, even if all parties agree to a lower child support amount, the obligor is still liable for the previous amount until the judge signs the order.

If all parties do not agree, then the suit is contested and things become much more complicated. The petitioner must now prove to the court that the modification that is being sought is appropriate. The most common way to gain modification is to prove that there has been a significant change in material circumstances. This could include a job loss or other change in income. It may also include changes to the child's financial needs.

An uncontested child support modification can often be handled without much legal support. If the modification is contested, then legal support and counsel becomes very important. An attorney can assist a client in preparing for a hearing by helping to gather and organize evidence to meet the petitioner's burden of proof. The attorney can also represent the client in court and help increase the chances of obtaining a favorable decision.

Source: TexasLawHelp.org, "How do I change custody and child support orders? ", December 09, 2014

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