An existing court order for child support is not necessarily set in stone. A Texas parent experiencing a problem that alters the ability to earn income could request a change in the amount of payments. The court might approve a modification when informed of job losses, medical problems or other financial setbacks.
Until a court approves a modification, the original court order will be in effect, and the parent will remain responsible for those payments. Unpaid child support cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. This means that a parent with money woes should take action to adjust payments as soon as possible.
The first step could be discussing the difficulty with the other parent. While the other parent might balk at the prospect of less money for the kids, coming to terms out of court could reduce legal fees. Mediation might provide an environment where both parents can reach an agreement. During this negotiation, and especially before a judge, a parent will need to provide documentation about the source of financial problems.
Before approving a child support modification, a judge will look for proof of a substantial change in circumstances regarding the person's ability to pay. A parent could discuss the situation with an attorney to learn more about meeting the legal standards for modifying support payments. The lawyer could aid in the initial discussions with the other parent and prepare the court paperwork. Guidance from an attorney could help the client gather all of the necessary financial documents to support the petition. By working with a lawyer, the client could address the problem quickly and avoid becoming delinquent on payments.