WHEN CAN YOU MODIFY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT

Child support orders can only be changed by the entering of a new court order. Informal agreements between the parties are not effective to change the amount of court ordered child support. Therefore, while you and the other party may agree to a change in the amount of child support to be paid, unless the agreed to amount is recited in a new order signed by the court, the party obligated to pay the support could be required to pay the amount originally ordered by the court if a dispute arises and could also be held in contempt of court and jailed.
If you and the other party are unable to agree to a change in the amount of child support to be paid, then the issue will be determined by the court.

FILING THE MODIFICATION

A child support order may be modified under two broad conditions. Specifically, the child support order may be modified if:

• A child support order is more than three years old and the amount of the monthly child support calculated using the statutory child support guidelines in the Texas Family Code would change by more than 20 percent, or at least $100; or
• The party requesting the modification proves that there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of one or more of the parties to the support order, or the child, since the date the last child support order was entered with the court or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based.

The following changed circumstances are the most often asserted by a party seeking a child support modification:

• An increase or decrease in income;
• Loss of employment;
• The party paying support is legally responsible for the support of additional children;
• Special needs of the child such as medical, educational or psychological;
• Changes in medical insurance or coverage; and
• A child’s living arrangements have changed.

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