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What is the legal standard for modifying a child support order?

| Sep 11, 2020 | Child Custody And Support |

In these challenging economic times, you may be having trouble paying your monthly child support. On the other hand, you may think your ex-spouse should make higher support payments than he or she currently does.

In Texas, a judge may agree to change a parent’s support obligation in two situations. If you are thinking about pursuing a support modification, you must understand both legal standards.

A change in circumstances

If there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances that affects someone the support order involves, a child support modification may be possible. Unfortunately, Texas law does not clearly outline what constitutes a material and substantial change.

Still, the following may be sufficient to clear this legal hurdle:

  • A change in either parent’s income
  • A change in child-related expenses
  • A change in the child’s needs
  • A change in either parent’s family makeup

The passage of time

If there is no qualifying change in circumstances in your situation, you may still be able to convince a judge to lower or increase a child support order. Doing so, though, may depend on the passage of time. If it has been at least three years since your initial order or your last modification, you can ask the court to revisit the matter.

Note, though, a judge is only likely to intervene if the new order would result in a change of at least 20% or $100. If that is the case, you may be able to use the passage of time rather than a change in circumstances to modify your existing child support order.

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