If your circumstances or the circumstances of your ex-spouse have changed significantly, your court ordered child support may be eligible for review and modification. Below you'll find helpful information on requesting modifications to your child support order.
Understanding Child Support Modification Eligibility
Before going through the process of modifying your child support, you should establish if you are eligible. There are two ways to know if you're eligible for child support modification. There are as follows,
It has been three or more years since the order was established or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support ordered differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded according to child support guidelines.
If a material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the child support order was last set.
If eligible, child support modifications will be conducted through a court hearing or through the CSRP (child support review process). The CSRP is typically faster than scheduling a court hearing and it works best when both parents can agree on the order.
When To Modify Child Support
Terms of child support are initially agreed upon to finalize your divorce. If those terms continue to work for you and your ex-spouse, you do not have to make any child support modifications. However, changes to factors such as your employment status or having another child , would warrant modifications to child support.
If your employment changes, it is possible that your child support order could change to match your current income. If you become unemployed and have no source of income when your child support order is reviewed, generally a modified child support amount that considers your past employment, your ability to work and earn an income, and the current federal minimum wage is put in place.
In Texas, when the parent who has a child support obligation has another child, the parent paying child support is entitled to a modification of their child support obligation. When a person obtains a new court order that changes their monthly child support obligation, the percentage of monthly net income for child support would change from 20% to 17.5% per month.
Although employment status and additional children are the most common reasons to modify child support orders, they are not the only factors. Be sure to talk with a family law attorney to see if you need child support modifications for your specific situation.
How To Modify Child Support
If you have an active/open child support case, you can submit an official request for review of your court-ordered amount. To complete an online modification request, click here.
Be careful not to request a child support modification for reasons the court might consider insignificant, especially if your jurisdiction limits the frequency of modification evaluations.
How Long It Takes Before Modifications Are In Effect
There is no typical timeframe for modification, although the cooperation of both parents does typically speed up the process. Additional information may need to be gathered — from the other parent or other resources — to complete the formal review.
Both parents will be contacted to schedule a Child Support Review Process (CSRP). Both parents must agree on the newly calculated child support amount and any other payment changes addressed. If an agreement cannot be reached, or if the case is ineligible for CSRP, the modification request will be considered in court.