HOW TO RAISE OR LOWER CHILD SUPPORT IN TEXAS
1) Three-Year Rule
There are 2 primary grounds that allow for the modification of child support in the family code. The first is what is commonly known as the “Three-Year Rule.” The Three-year rule says that you are allowed to file for a modification of your child support, if 3 years has passed since your support amount was either set in the divorce decree or was last modified, AND the new amount of support that should be paid currently differs by at least 20% or $100 from what is in the previous child support order. Although it is not mandatory for the court to modify child support under this provision, rarely a court may refuse to modify once the factors are proven.
One caveat to the three-year rule is that if your previous child support order is based on an agreement whereby your child support amount was either higher or lower than guideline child support would have been at that time, then the three year rule is not available for use in applying to modify the support amount.
2) Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances
If the three-year rule does not apply to your situation, you can still petition the court for a change in support amount if you can show that since the last court order there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either the child or of a person affected by the order. There is not a set list of what is a material and substantial change, but courts determine the qualification for a change in child support amount under this provision.