Many people have questions about modifying child support or custody in Texas. Below are answers to some common questions.
If you have any additional questions or need more information, please call me today at 682-234-2006 or email me to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your particular situation.
My ex-spouse is not paying enough child support for how much he or she makes. Can I get the amount of child support increased?
To modify the amount of child support (either an increase or decrease in the amount ordered), one of two things must be proven in court: either (1) you show that the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date the order was signed; or (2) it has been three years since the order was signed and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by at least either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded currently in accordance with the child support guidelines. Most cases will fall under the three-year category, so the question of whether child support can be modified becomes primarily a question of math.
Are verbal changes OK?
A mistake many parents make is to reach informal oral agreements modifying child support. This can lead to future problems. The problem with oral agreements is that they are often vaguely worded and the memories or understanding of the parties may often differ. Any agreement you make to modify child support should be put in writing so that there are no misunderstandings later on. I would be glad to help you with this. It is also a good idea to have a judge sign a court order based on the agreement.
What circumstances might require a change in support?
Many different scenarios can create changed circumstances. For example, if the paying parent has had a large increase in income, the court can order the child support increased. Or, if the child’s needs grow, such as if the child becomes ill or disabled, the amount of support can be ordered raised. Sometimes the mere passage of time creates the changed circumstances. For example, as a child grows older, it becomes more expensive to buy clothes, food, and other necessities. These increased expenses can be enough to justify a raise in the support order.
Support can also be reduced if you can show why this would be fair. For example, support payments may be reduced if the custodial parent inherits money, gets a large raise, or otherwise has an increased ability to support the children. Or, if the paying parent loses his or her job, I can advocate for you that the court reduce support during the period of unemployment.
How much do I have to pay in child support?
The amount of child support you have to pay depends on how many children you have a duty to support and your net resources.
I can’t afford to pay or owe child support, what can I do?
While you always have an obligation to provide child support, even if you are not working, it is possible to reduce the amount of child support you have to pay. In certain instances, you can file for a modification to reduce your child support obligation to align with your changed financial circumstances. If you owe child support, there are certain facts that can decrease the amount of child support owed. Additionally, payment arrangements can often be negotiated. I can advocate on your behalf to lower your child support payments to an appropriate amount.
How can I get my ex to pay more child support?
Just as your ex can ask the court to lower the child support obligation, you can ask the court to increase the child support obligation by filing a modification. The amount of child support your ex has to pay is based on his or her income. Income often increases over time, which can make your ex subject to a modification. Additionally, the court can modify the child support obligation if the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed. Having an experienced attorney on your side can not only simplify the process for you but also help you get all the support that may be due you.
Is the child support awarded always set by the child support guidelines?
Not necessarily, a Texas court can consider other factors to set child support above or below the child support guidelines. Here are a few examples the court can consider: the age of the child, costs incurred to exercise visitation, and extraordinary health or education expenses for the child.
I am owed child support, what can I do?
As your attorney, I can assist you in a variety of ways to collect unpaid child support. The most common way is to request wage withholding. However, it is also possible to freeze bank and retirement accounts, place the nonpaying parent in jail for failure to pay child support, and sell real and personal property after obtaining a judgment for unpaid child support.
My children are no longer minors; can I still collect unpaid child support?
Yes. In Texas, there are no time limitations to collect unpaid child support. You can collect any unpaid child support even if your children are 20, 30, or 40+ years old.