When parents have a child support order in place, sometimes there are circumstances that require the order to be changed. This is called a child support modification.
In Texas, a child support order may be modified if the order was established or last modified more than three years ago, the monthly amount of the child support differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded according to child support guidelines or there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the last order was set.
Material and substantial change
A material and substantial change in circumstances means the noncustodial parent’s income has changed, he or she is legally responsible for additional children, the child’s medical insurance has changed or the child is living with a different parent.
A child support order can only be changed by a court hearing or a process called the Child Support Review Process (CSRP). If the parents participate in the CSRP and cannot agree on a modified child support amount, it will need to be reviewed by a court. In addition, if parents make an agreement between themselves outside of the processes outlined above, that does not change the court ordered child support amount.
Parents should also be aware that a child support modification can result in higher payments. If he or she is earning more money now than when the child support was first ordered, the court may increase the amount the parent is required to pay.
Child support modifications are dependent on the parents’ circumstances. An experienced attorney can help parents who have questions about this process.