Child Support And Custody Modifications

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Modifications Attorney

Can Child Support or Possession Schedules and Custody be modified?

Unfortunately, not everyone fulfills their court-ordered obligations. If that has happened to you, then you may need to seek a modification.

Child Support Modification

A parent cannot just choose to start paying a lower amount of child support, even if both parents agree on it. Only a court can change the amount of child support that a party is required to pay, and the new amount must be determined through a child support modification.

A modification of child support in Texas can occur under two circumstances: Has it been at least three years since the last child support order? If so, you may be eligible for a modification if the newly requested amount would result in at least a 20% variance, or the new amount would be at least a $100 difference from the previous amount ordered.

However, if the prior order wasn’t based on the Texas Family Code Guideline percentages for support (20% for one child, 30% for three children, etc.), then the parent seeking the modification must show a “material and substantial” change in circumstances, even if it has been more than three years since the last order.

The second circumstance is when a “material and substantial” change in circumstances has occurred in the parent’s life. This could include things such as:

  • An increase or decrease in the obligor’s (the one paying support) income that typically equals at least a 25% change.;
  • A change in health or dental insurance coverage that affects the child, or if the child’s medical condition has changed since the last order;
  • The child’s living arrangements change; or
  • The noncustodial parent has become legally responsible for more children.

Child Custody or Possession Orders

Previous orders, including final orders, may be modified if there has been a change in circumstances that no longer reflect the child’s best interests. This may include:

  • The child is 12 years old and wishes to live with the other parent; or
  • There has been a material and substantial change in circumstances; and
  • The proposed changes would be in the child’s best interest.

If the child is under 12 years old or does not wish to change the primary conservator, the order will not be modified unless the change in circumstances has been material and substantial. This requirement may include:

  • Changes in marital status of the parents
  • Relocation for employment reasons
  • Medical conditions
  • If one parent becomes unemployed
  • Child abuse or neglect by either parent, or possibly others, including step-parents
  • Substance abuse related issues
  • If one parent is found guilty of a serious crime or is incarcerated.

Again, the standard is the best interest of the child. If you are thinking about seeking a modification of a prior order, please call us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and your particular circumstances.