In Texas, a court order for child support can only be changed for limited reasons. A judge will only approve necessary modifications that are in the child’s best interest.
A modification of a child support order is only considered necessary under two circumstances:
1. The order was established or last modified more than three years ago, and the monthly amount of the child support differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded, according to the child support guidelines, or
2. There was a material and substantial change in the circumstances since the last child support order. If there has been a material and substantial change, it does not matter when the order was established or last modified.
A “material and substantial change” is not explicitly defined under Texas law. The judge will decide whether there was a material and substantial change after looking at the circumstances of the child and the parents. Some common examples of material and substantial changes include:
• The noncustodial parent lost their job;
• A change in income for the noncustodial parent (decrease or increase);
• The noncustodial parent becomes responsible for other children;
• The child’s physical, mental, or educational needs have changed;
• The child’s medical insurance coverage has changed; and
• The child custody agreement has changed.
Parents cannot intentionally reduce their income to pay less child support. If the court finds this is occurring, they will deny the modification.
Who Can Request a Modification of Child Support in Bedford?
Either parent can request a modification of child support. The request for a review for modification is sent to the Office of Attorney General Child Support Division.
What is the Process for Changing a Child Support Order in Bedford?
There are two ways to change a child support order in Bedford, Texas. If both parents agree on the change, they can avoid a court hearing and use the Child Support Review Process (CSRP). The Office of the Attorney General will gather information from both parties regarding income, the child’s health insurance, and residential addresses. Their specialist will review the information and schedule an in-office negotiation at the Office of the Attorney General. Once both parties come to an agreement, it is sent to the court for approval.
The process is more complicated if the parents disagree on the change or if there are family violence concerns. The modification will have to be decided by a judge in a court hearing. Child support cases can be complex, so it is critical to work with an experienced Bedford attorney.
How Long Does it Take to Change a Child Support Order in Bedford?
Child support orders are not changed instantaneously in Texas. The time depends significantly on whether both parties can agree on the modification. For most individuals, it takes up to six months for the court to issue a new order.
Can Child Support Be Changed with an Informal Agreement in Bedford?
Informal agreements between parents have zero effect on court-ordered child support in Bedford, Texas. Child support must be modified through the legal process.
Even if you have an informal agreement, past due payments will continue to accrue. If there is a dispute, the parent obligated to pay could be held in contempt of court and even sent to jail.
Are Child Support Modifications Retroactive in Bedford?
Child support modifications are not retroactive in Texas. It is irrelevant when the material or substantial change occurred. The new order only applies to payments going forward.
For this reason, it is critical to reach out to a child support attorney immediately if you want to modify a child support order. The court will not forgive past due payments, even if you have lost your job. You will be responsible for all past-due payments and interest. Unpaid child support has a six percent interest rate in Texas.
Your Bedford Child Support Attorney
If you have questions about modifying a child support order, you should contact an experienced Bedford child support lawyer. The Law Office of Craig S. Michalk has helped the residents of Tarrant County navigate child support, divorce, and other family law matters for over 24 years. Call the Law Office of Craig S. Michalk today at 817-282-9895 for a free consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss and assist you with your divorce needs.