Family courts recognize circumstances change, which means they also allow the modification of child support orders. If you lose your job or experience another “material and substantial change in circumstances,” you may request a reduction or another change in your child support order.
You may also modify your payments if it has been more than 3 years since the order was established or last modified and/or the change only differs by 20% or $100.
What Is a Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances?
There are 4 situations that represent a material and substantial change in circumstances. You can request a modification of child support orders as the noncustodial parent if:
- Your income has increased or decreased.
- You become legally responsible for additional children.
- Your child’s medical insurance coverage has changed.
If you become the custodial parent, this also represents a material and substantial change in circumstances and allows for modification.
How Do I Change My Child Support Order?
In Texas, you can only change your child support order 1 of 2 ways:
The first is an in-office negotiation known as the Child Support Review Process (CSRP), and the second is a court hearing. You can submit a Child Support Order Modification Request online or speak to a family law attorney about making a request.
The CSRP is much easier when both parents cooperate and agree on the modification, so you may also want to discuss the change with your ex before making a request. That being said, informal agreements between parents do not change the court-ordered amount.
If you and your ex disagree about a change, your modification request will be considered in court. You can always speak to an attorney about your options at any point in the process – to save time and money, you may want to consider mediation to resolve any disagreements before entering into the CSRP.
What If I Want to Stop Paying Child Support?
If you wish to stop paying child support, you may want to update your child custody arrangement, although if you make more money than your former spouse, there is no guarantee your payments will disappear.
To calculate child support payments, the state estimates how much money it takes to raise a child and splits this obligation between the parents. In Texas, the court also considers factors like how much each parent makes and how much time the child spends with each parent.
You can visit the Child Support Calculator to find out what your payments may be. Keep in mind your payments can go up if you request a modification and your income has increased from the time the order was established.
Protect Your Interests
Whenever you make a modification of custody or support, you should speak to a family lawyer to protect your best interests. An attorney can help you with paperwork, represent you in CSRP meetings and court hearings, and much more.