What to expect when modifying child support orders

Child support modification may require proof of a change in circumstances, patience and professionals.

Not every Texas divorce includes child support or custody orders. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 45.2% of divorces over the course of a single year involved one or more children. In other words, more than half of all marriage dissolvements did not include children at all, which means they did not require any child-related court orders. When children are involved, it keeps the exes tied together forever. For this reason, it is not surprising that certain aspects of the divorce may need to be renegotiated years after the legal process is finished.

Prove a change in circumstances

In most cases, child support orders are modified only when they have been in place for three or more years. However, if the noncustodial parent has a major life change before that three-year mark, he or she may request an early change. It is often necessary for the person wanting the modification to demonstrate there has been a major shift in circumstances, including the following:

  • The child has started living with a different parent.
  • The income of the supporting parent has decreased or increased.
  • The medical coverage for the child has changed.
  • The noncustodial parent has had more children.

Simply put, the court order will likely only be changed if the live-in mother or father needs more money to support the child or if the noncustodial parent can no longer afford the payments. If the parent wanting a change in child support cannot prove that there have been substantial life changes, he or she may not be able to make any modifications.

Be patient

Typically, when a change is requested, the person wants the modification to be made as quickly as possible. However, this type of court order does not always happen with speed. In some situations, the review process may require additional information which can take time to be gathered. In other cases, the modification request may be so straightforward that it seems to happen overnight. If both parents are willing to patiently cooperate with the review board, the change will likely happen more smoothly and quickly.

Work with professionals

When ex-spouses manage to co-parent well, they may try to make changes to child support agreements on their own. However, informal agreements do not actually affect court orders. The family either needs to go through another court hearing or an in-office negotiation. A professional mediator is needed to make sure the changes made are legally binding and still in full favor of the child.

Many divorced parents in Texas want what is best for their children, so they are willing to modify child support orders. Whether children are part of the equation or not, it may be beneficial for anyone going through a divorce to work with a knowledgeable attorney.