Child support is decided by the courts. They can order one or both parents to provide support based on their specifications. There also can be orders given as to the method in which it’s paid, such as a lump sum or periodic payments. When a parent wants to file a request for child support modification, there are a couple of options that may be available.

How to Modify Child Support in Texas

One way to start a request for child support modification is through the court system. However, the process of setting up a hearing can take a long time. Keep in mind that when going through the court, it must be done in the same county and court where the original order was issued. In Dallas, this would be in the Family Court Services of Dallas County, Child Support Office.

Another faster option is to go through the Child Support Review Process (CSRP). This works best when both parents are in agreement of how to modify child support in Texas. Otherwise, it may necessitate a court hearing.

Adjustments typically can be made only when it’s been at least three years since it was first established or last modified. In addition, the monthly payment of child support ordered must differ by $100 from the amount that would be awarded (based on child support guidelines), or by 10 percent.

Another circumstance in which a request for child support modification likely will be successful is when there’s a substantial change in the parent’s circumstances. This could include a significant change in the noncustodial parent’s wages (increase or decrease), altered living arrangements for the child, altered medical insurance coverage for child or when the noncustodial parent is legally responsible for additional children.

Information That Must Be Provided When Requesting Adjustments with Child Support

Those who already have a child support case can submit a request for review to the office handling it. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will need evidence to show why the request for child support modification is valid. Tax forms (W-2), paystubs (to show income), health coverage and other relevant documentation are relevant sources of evidence.

Common Reasons Child Support Orders May Be Adjusted

The custodial parent may request the noncustodial parent to increase his or her payments, perhaps when becoming aware of a significant increase in his or her income. Of course, the noncustodial parent may request child support be lowered if there’s been a significant decrease or if the parent lost his or her job.

Keep in mind that custodial parents who voluntarily take a lower-paying job cannot use that as a reason to request the other parent to pay more. So the circumstances of any request for child support modification will be considered carefully.

Increases may be requested by the custodial parent for other reasons. Perhaps the child’s educational or medical needs increase. Let’s say the child has been injured in an accident and is now disabled, requiring long-term medical care and treatment. Sometimes a parent also requests cost-of-living increases. Again, these changes must be substantial enough and backed by evidence.

Whether the change in Texas child support payments is paid in a lump sum or in periodic payments, it is ultimately up to the court that originally issued the rule. If you feel that you need help rectifying a current child support payment system, then you might want to meet family law lawyer Julie E. Johnson for a consultation: (214) 290-8001.