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Understanding the criteria for modifying child support in Texas


Child support is an integral part of a divorce agreement in Texas. It is also important if a couple was not married but shares a child. It is not in dispute that children must be adequately cared for, but there is often a disagreement as to how much a supporting parent pays and what the custodial parent receives. In some instances, there is a need for the agreement to be modified. There are certain points that must be remembered when seeking a modification.

The order can be changed if there is a court hearing or through the child support review process (CSRP). In general, the CSRP will be resolved faster than a court hearing. The agreement can be changed in the following circumstances: it has been a minimum of three years from the time the order was established or modified and the amount that is paid per month differs by 20 percent or $100 from what would be awarded were the state guidelines followed; or there has been a material or substantial change in the circumstances of one or both parents since the establishment of the child support order. If the couple came to an agreement on their own without a court order, then the modification is not legally changed.

A material and substantial change in circumstances means one of the following has happened: there was an increase or decrease in the noncustodial parent's income; the noncustodial parent is found to be legally responsible for other children; there has been a change in the medical coverage of the children; or the living arrangements of the children has changed.

Family law issues come in a variety of different forms and one of the most important that frequently comes up in dispute is child support. Of all attempts at post-divorce modification, this can be the most contentious. Parents who are concerned about child support whether it is from the perspective of the paying parent or the receiving parent must fully understand the law and requirements with making a modification. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in family law is the first step.

Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, "Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support Modifications," accessed on March 28, 2017

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