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Change in circumstances may justify child support modification

In Texas, the law permits modifications to child support obligations where circumstances have changed or the support guidelines would indicate overpayment, according to the official website of The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton. Modification may be justified where the change in circumstances is “material and substantial” or where the amount provided under the general child support guidelines, as provided by law, differs from the amount a parent is presently required to pay under an earlier court order. Since modifications to child support are based on a parent’s current income, the total amount that must be paid can either go up or down.

There are two avenues by which a parent can seek to have a child support obligation modified; however, no matter the option selected, only a new court order may change the amount of child support that must be paid.

If parents are amenable to negotiating a child support modification without a court hearing, they can commence the child support review process through a local office of the Attorney General. If the circumstances necessitating a change in the support obligation are not agreed upon or modification of a support order is a matter of contention by the parents, a party will need to petition the court for modification. Unless the parties are familiar with the particularities of a Texas family law hearing, they will likely seek legal counsel so that their interests are represented in a competent, efficient manner.

Failure to pay child support is a serious matter in Texas and, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a delinquent child support obligor may be prohibited from renewing an expired driver's license or subject to revocation of a driver's license. If a person is unable to pay monthly child support payments due to a change in circumstance, including a reduction of income, then seeking a modification would be a better alternative than becoming delinquent on support payments.

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