How to Get a Child Support Modification
Child support is generally based upon the non-custodial parent's income. It is not uncommon for the custodial parent to seek a modification of support at some point. Just by the fact that the cost of living increases every year it should be evident that the parent may need more money down the road to take care of the children. There are specific requirements for obtaining a modification, however, and it is in your best interests to work with a College Station child support lawyer.
Reasons Accepted by the Courts
A custodial parent may come to believe that a support modification is necessary when expenses for child care increase. For instance, once the children are in school, costs tend to rise. Over time it is likely that a parent's financial status will change as well. If you have a question about whether you might be able to obtain a modification, a College Station child support lawyer will be able to assist. However, Texas family courts recognize only very specific reasons for child support modifications. Some of these are:
- One parent becomes disabled
- The child faces a serious medical issue or emergency
- One of the parents loses a job
- The income of one parent changes considerably
- One parent remarries, which increases the income in the household
- The child's needs change
- A parent suffers a medical hardship
- The cost of living increases
Should the need for modification be based upon a temporary situation, such as a medical emergency, the court may order a temporary modification. If the court orders a permanent modification it will remain in effect until another modification is granted or until the children are of majority status.
How to Obtain a Modification
It is advantageous to both parents if they can reach an agreement on their own, and then present their request for modification to the court. Keep in mind, though, that in order to obtain an order, a substantial change in circumstances must have occurred or three years must have passed since the last one. The amount of support must differ by 20%. Also, it is very useful when the original order is rendered to include language that allows for automatic cost of living increases. This can help reduce the need for repeated requests for modification down the line.
To obtain a modification:
- Complete the petition to modify. Be sure to explain the reason why the modification is needed.
- File your petition in the family court which has jurisdiction. Generally this is the same court where the original order for child support was made.
- Send a copy of the petition to the other parent.
- Attend the modification hearing. Provided the reason for modification accords with those that are acceptable under Texas law, the hearing should be fairly brief and straightforward. However, if the parents have not come to an agreement it may be necessary to take the matter to trial.
We Can Help You with Your Modification
In order to protect your rights it is best that you work with a College Station child support lawyer when seeking a modification. We at Peterson Law Group have the experience and understanding of Texas family law to provide you with unparalleled legal representation. Call today to arrange a consultation at 979-703-7014.