Can a Frisco Divorce Lawyer Help Me Modify Child Support?
When the parents of a minor child decide to end their marriage, or when paternity of a child born out of wedlock is established, the issue of child support is also addressed. At that time, a child support order is typically entered by the court as part of the proceedings. Once child support s established, that obligation becomes an order of the court. Failing to fulfill that obligation by paying your child support as ordered is a violation of that court order which can have serious consequences, up to, and including, incarceration. If you have been ordered to pay child support in the State of Texas and you are unable to pay the amount ordered by the court, the worst thing you can do is simply stop paying. The best thing you can do for yourself is to consult with an experienced Texas divorce lawyer about petitioning to modify your child support obligation.
How Is Child Support Initially Determined?
The law holds both parents financially responsible for the support of a minor child until the child reaches the age of majority. Child support may be ordered through either a divorce or a paternity action. If he parents are married at the time the child is born, and later divorce, child support will be ordered as part of the divorce settlement or award. If the child is born out of wedlock, child support may be ordered when paternity is legally established as part of a paternity action. The amount of your initial child support order will be calculated using your income, any allowable deductions, and the number of children covered by the support.
What if I Think the Child Support Order Should Be Modified?
Unlike most other orders associated with a divorce or paternity action, child support may be modified – sometimes several times – after the initial order. If you are concerned that you are paying too much in child support, it is potentially possible to modify the existing order. Keep in mind, however, that until a judge approves a modification of the existing child support order, you are legally obligated to continue paying the amount indicated on the existing order. That means that even if you and the other parent have agreed to an adjustment, that agreement must be approved by the court before it actually counts from a legal standpoint. In the meantime, you will remain legally obligated to pay the court ordered amount and you will be considered behind on your support as far as the court is concerned if you fail to pay that amount.
How Can a Frisco Divorce Lawyer Help?
If you believe that you should be entitled to modify your child support, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Frisco divorce lawyer. Texas law dictates that a child support order may be modified if either of the following apply:
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; or
A material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the child support order was last set.
If you are hoping to modify your current child support order based on a “material and substantial change in circumstances,” you will need to discuss what you believe to be the circumstances that qualify with your Frisco divorce lawyer. Some examples of circumstances that may qualify include:
The noncustodial parent’s income has either increased or decreased,
The noncustodial parent is legally responsible for additional children,
The child(ren)’s medical insurance coverage has changed, or
The child(ren)’s living arrangements have changed
If your situation does not fall neatly into one of those categories, it does not mean you cannot get a modification. There are other circumstances that could qualify; however, you will need to convince a judge that they qualify. That is one of the many reasons why you should have an experienced attorney on your side. Because the rules require you to wait three years between requests for a modification unless you can prove a “material and substantial change of circumstances,” it becomes even more important to get your request for a modification approved the first time you file it.
If you have additional questions or concerns about modifying your child support in the State of Texas, contact an experienced Frisco, Texas divorce lawyer at The Law Office of Jon R. Boydto schedule your appointment today.