Child Support Modification Attorneys serving Bell, Denton, Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant Counties and the cities of Allen, Argyle, Belton, Carrollton, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Denton, Denton, Flower Mound, Fort Hood, Frisco, Grapevine, Harker Heights, Irving, Keller, Killeen, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm, Mckinney, Nolanville, Plano, Prosper, Roanoke, Salado, Southlake, and The Colony.
In Texas, it’s not uncommon for one parent to have primary custody of a child while the other is responsible for making child support payments. The purpose of these payments is to provide the child or children with the same quality of life they would have experienced if their parents were living together. Child support awards and agreements are part of divorce proceedings but may also occur in child custody situations where the parents were never married.
How to Ask for Child Support Modifications
A child support order is based on the circumstances of the parents during the time of the proceedings, as well as any foreseeable needs of the child or children. However, in some situations, life changes for either parent or changes regarding the child’s needs may require child support modification in order to account for these changes.
Understanding How a Support Order is Modified
In many cases, the need to modify child support orders is clear. However, the modification process isn’t always easy. Occasionally, a judge will approve child support modifications when both parents agree. Other times, a more formal court proceeding is needed. We help parents with modifications of child custody, and we can help modify child support. When parents don’t agree then we’ll represent you in court.
Modifying Child Support and Child Custody in Texas
Typically, the need to change a support order is based on the change of life circumstances for one or more of the child’s parents or a substantial change in circumstances for the child themselves. Here are some of the more common reasons why parents seek to have the child support amount of support increased or reduced in their child support modification request:
- Promotion or increased income
- Job loss, layoff, or a reduction in gross income
- Other employment changes of either parent
- A parent going to jail or prison
- Disability of a parent
- A need to support other minor children
- New educational expenses
- Additional expenses for activities such as sports
- A change to the child custody agreement
- Physical or developmental disabilities of the child
You Don’t Have to Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Whatever your reason for your request, when it comes to the modification of child support, you’ll want to hire a child support modification attorney. Here at Ilarraza Law, we will review your case while providing legal advice for child support modification and child support enforcement. We provide legal counsel that has your child’s best interests at heart, as well as yours.
Our Trusted Texas Family Law Attorneys
It’s virtually impossible to plan for everything. This is why support modifications are necessary as life continues to change. And, while financial problems or the changing needs of your children may change your circumstances, you still must continue to pay child support at the current level until the court modifies your order.
Occasionally, parents feel as though they can decide on their own to either decrease or stop their child support payment. If you don’t pay your current child support, then there are consequences. Failing to follow your child support order can lead to fines or even imprisonment. Ilarraza Law can help you petition expeditiously for Texas child support modification to avoid undue hardship.
Even in cases of drastic and obvious change such as being arrested and jailed, you cannot stop making child support payments without the permission of a judge. While you’re in jail, those payments will continue to accrue, and you may never be able to have the debt discharged. If you fear that you’re unable to make your payments for any reason, then call Ilarraza Law to speak with a qualified lawyer today.
Enforcing Child Support Agreements
Likewise, if your ex-spouse is behind on their support payments, you will likely need assistance to collect the money that rightfully belongs to your child. We also guide parents through the process of enforcing a child support order.
The Right Attorney for all Your Child Custody and Support Needs
Here at Ilarraza Law, we’re ready to support you in any way that we can. This could mean modifying child support, helping you understand the child support guidelines, performing a child support review, and modifying your support order. Your child support obligation should be fair and reasonable to help care for your child or children. In addition to child support cases, we can also assist with a modification of child custody or visitation. Our family law attorneys are here to help protect your rights and the rights of your child. We have the experience and education to help you through this family change. We help custodial parents and non-custodial parents alike. No matter if you’re just beginning your petition for divorce or if you’ve had long-standing support orders, we’re here for you.
Call Ilarraza Law today at 214-646-3253 or reach us online for a consultation regarding your child custody or child support case or if you’re looking to increase or decrease your current child support payment amount.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Modifications can be temporary or permanent depending on the specific circumstances.
Often temporary modifications are granted for temporary situations such as a medical emergency or a temporary loss of employment for one or both parents. In addition to temporarily modifying child support, there may also be a temporary change of child custody if one parent should be hospitalized or otherwise indisposed for an extended period of time.
Yes, it is possible to modify your support order, however, it depends on the language included in the original court order. In some instances, judges include a Cost-of-Living Adjustment clause known as a COLA. This clause automatically adjusts child support payments each year in accordance with increases or decreases in the annual cost of living. In these situations, the amount is typically determined by the Consumer Price Index or other economic indicators.
It is very strongly recommended that you work with an attorney when it comes to a modification of child support in Texas. Your attorney will have an understanding of Texas child support modification laws and the child support modification Texas Family Code. In addition, they may be able to help you with alternative dispute resolution. They can also offer legal advice and review all forms and agreements to make sure nothing is missed and you aren’t being taken advantage of.
In order to change an order for child support, you will need to request a modification from the same court that granted the original order. Even if both parents agree to the modification and have it in writing, you still must sit before the judge to make the change legal and official.
If the parents aren’t able to agree, then the next step is to request a court hearing. Here you will both be permitted to make arguments about the proposed modification. However, in order to get this far, at least one parent must be able to show a substantial change in circumstances that makes the modification necessary.
If your modification review can be finished by an agreement or by default, then it is considered uncontested.
Finishing by agreement means that you and the other parent reach an agreement regarding all the issues and are willing to sign the proper forms.
Finishing a modification suit by default means without the other parent’s involvement. This happens when the other parent is served but does not file an answer or appear in the courtroom.
Contested modification suits occur when the other parent files an answer or a waiver of service but will not sign off on the order to modify support. In this case, your case will have a final hearing date and the other parent must have at least a 45-day notice prior to the hearing.
A permanent change in child support or custody is typically granted if one parent’s permanent position changes. For example, if one parent remarries then this could have a permanent change on their pay. Other examples of changes include the permanent disability of a parent, the child’s needs, or a job change of the parent.
Either the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent can file a Texas modification of child support. In addition, if you are not the parent of the child, you can still file a modification case if at least one of the following scenarios applies:
- You’re listed as a party in the current order
- You have had actual care, control, and possession of the child for a minimum of 6 months ending no more than 90 days prior to the date you file the modification with the court, and you are not a foster parent
- You have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator for a minimum of 6 months ending no more than 90 days prior to the date you file the modification case, and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator has died
- You’re the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew and both parents are dead
- Both parents, the surviving parent, or managing conservator agree
- The child’s current circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.
It’s also possible for the Texas Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division to file a modification case.