Many Texas families find that they need to seek changes to a child support order. A non-custodial parent may have to take a lower-paying job than they had when a family court judge first made the order, leaving them in need of lower child support payments. A child may begin attending a private school or experience another change that increases their living expenses. There is a variety of reasons why parents may seek a child support change.
Even when parents agree on a change to a child support order, they must put the changes in writing and get the judge to formalize the order. Until a judge signs a modified order, the person paying child support must continue doing so at the rate the judge ordered in the original support order. Both parents must complete a Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship and submit it to the clerk's office in the county where a judge issued the original support order.
Child support modifications are contested when both parents cannot agree on the changes to the support order. The parent seeking the order must prove to the court that a substantial material change, such as a new baby or a family violence incident, has occurred in the family's circumstances and that a new order would differ from the previous order by at least 20 percent or $100. Parents must file a Suit to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship to ask a judge to modify their support order.
Contested modifications are often complicated, and parents seeking a support order modification may have trouble proving to judges that their circumstances have changed enough to warrant a change. Family law attorneys are often able to assist clients in making their case to a judge and secure significant child support modifications.