Ask a Divorce Lawyer: How Does Child Support Modification Work?

June 23, 2023

If you or your former partner have been ordered to pay child support following a divorce, then the payment amount may not remain the same until the child turns 18. Some modification may be required as time passes, and divorce lawyers in Houston, Texas can assist you with this.

Ask Divorce Lawyers in Houston, Texas: Can You Modify How Much You Pay in Child Support?

Child support payments can be modified by either parent following a divorce. This can happen at any time depending on the circumstances. Employment changes, for example, can lead to modification of child support payments.

If you need any help figuring out whether you can modify your child support payments, then visit this page to learn a little more about finding the best lawyer to help you with your queries.

When Can You Modify Child Support Payments?

You may be eligible to have your circumstances reviewed if it’s been three years since the child support payment amount was set, and you’ve had a significant increase or decrease in income since then. The monthly income of the person paying child support must have changed by at least 20% or $100.

There are also several circumstances that can warrant a change in how much you have to pay in child support. If there’s been a substantial change in the circumstances of the parent paying child support, then it doesn’t matter if three years have passed or not since the last update to the child support payments. You can circumvent this three-year requirement and have your situation reviewed now.

What Constitutes a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

Loss of a Job

If you’ve lost your job, then you may request to have your child support payment agreement modified. Pay cuts and significant salary increases are also considered substantially changed circumstances regarding work.

Change of Physical Custody

If the child begins living primarily or fully with the parent paying child support, then this is a significant change in circumstances. However, the circumstances must be permanent or long-term.

More Children Are Involved

If the parent paying child support has more children or becomes responsible for their new spouse’s children, then it’s considered a significant change in circumstances. The child support payment order may be reviewed and modified.

How Do You Have Your Child Support Payments Modified?

To have your child support payments modified, you must file to modify the current order. The request must be filed in the appropriate court, meaning the court that currently has jurisdiction over your child. You’ll need to fill out the appropriate form and pay a small fee to file, and it’s a good idea to have an attorney go over the form with you to help you understand it and fill in everything correctly.

Will My Child Custody Payments Always Be Modified Upon Request?

There’s never a guarantee that your request to modify the arrangement will be approved. You have to show proof of the circumstances surrounding your request to change the agreement.

For example, if you’ve started a new job that pays less than your old one did, then showing evidence of new your income is necessary. If your child has started living with the parent who formally paid child support, then you’ll need proof to show this change in living arrangements.

When Can I Start Paying the Modified Amount?

You can’t start paying the modified amount until your request to modify the payments is accepted. So, even if you lose your job, you’ll have to continue paying the previously agreed-upon until a new order is issued.

Can the Other Parent Contest My Request to Modify the Child Support Payments?

The other parent may contest your request to modify the arrangement. If the other parent contests your request, then you should seek legal help. It’s easier to modify the arrangement if the other parent agrees to the modification, meaning your modification is uncontested. A “default” may also happen, meaning the other parent doesn’t respond at all, so the payment is modified by default if the judge approves.

Do I Need an Attorney to File Modification?

You can file a modification without an attorney, but it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney and have them look over the papers with you to make sure everything is filled out correctly. You should also have an attorney ready to help in case the judge denies your modification request or your former spouse contests it.

It’s pretty simple to file a child support payment modification request, and contacting an attorney will make it even easier. Remember, if your circumstances have changed significantly, then you can file a modification request at any time. If there hasn’t been a significant change in your circumstances, then you can have your case reviewed after three years.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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