When parents divorce, the judge may order one of them to pay child support to the other to assist with payments related to the child’s needs. This order generally stays in effect until the child turns 18 unless one of the parents requests a support modification.
A parent cannot request a child support modification for just any reason. In order for a judge to approve a new order, the request must be valid.
Valid reasons for the request
According to the Attorney General of Texas, a modification request must meet certain eligibility requirements. One is that the circumstances of one or both parents have changed materially and substantially. Some examples of this:
- The income of the noncustodial parent has changed
- There is a change in the child’s medical insurance coverage
- A different parent now has physical custody of the child
- The noncustodial parent has other children for whom he or she is responsible
A judge will also consider a support modification if the estimated new monthly amount would differ by at least $100 or 20%, and it has been more than three years since the original order.
The modification process
If the situation meets any of the acceptable requirements, the Texas State Law Library discusses the details of the modification request process. Although both parents may agree to a new support amount, only a judge can legally change the order. The parent asking for the change can fill out a modification form and file a case with the court. There are fees associated with this.
If both parents agree to the change, the judge may be able to sign a new order within days after the filing of the case. If the parents do not agree, the process takes longer. While waiting for a decision about a new order, the parent currently paying support must continue payments, as any unpaid support is subject to a 6% interest fee.