In Katy, Greater Houston, and throughout Texas, child support is typically ordered through a paternity action or as a part of a divorce case. However, what some parents do not realize is that child support initially ordered is subject to change.
Under what circumstances can child support be changed? A child support order in Texas can be modified under the following circumstances:
- It has been at least three years since the order was established, or
- It has been at least three years since the order was last modified and the monthly child support obligation would be $100 or 20 percent different from the current child support order under Texas’ child support obligations, or
- There has been a significant change in circumstances since the last order was established.
Note: If you are the paying parent, the only way your child support obligation can change is by obtaining a new court order. Even if your ex-spouse or partner verbally agrees to accept less, that does not change your child support obligation and the court can initiate collection actions against you if you fall behind.
What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
What would be considered a substantial or significant change in circumstances to warrant an upward or downward modification? There are many possible reasons but, generally, one of the following would occur:
- The noncustodial parent’s income decreased.
- The noncustodial parent’s income increased.
- The noncustodial parent has a legal obligation to support other children.
- The children moved in with the noncustodial parent, or are spending significantly more time at their home than before.
- The children’s health insurance coverage changed.
Suppose you are the paying parent and you lost your job, does that mean you are no longer obligated to pay child support? No. If you lose your job and have no source of income, you will still be obligated to financially support your children. When the court reviews your child support order, it will calculate a modified child support amount, which will take into consideration a number of factors.