Fort Worth Father’s Rights Attorney — My Ex Wants More Child Support
When the parents of a minor child decide to divorce, a number of important issues relating to the child must be resolved during the subsequent divorce proceedings. Because the law imposes a financial duty on both parents to continue to support the child until the child reaches adulthood, one parent is typically ordered to pay child support to the other parent post-divorce. The amount of child support is determined at the time of the divorce and entered as an order of the court in the final decree. If you are the parent ordered to pay child support, and your ex is now asking for more support, what should you do? Although every situation is unique, a Fort Worth father’s rights attorney explains how a request to increase child support is usually handled.
The Divorce Process
When there is a minor child involved in a divorce, the law requires the parties to submit a Parenting Plan for court approval during the divorce process. The Parenting Plan is essentially a roadmap for the parents to follow post-divorce. Among other things, the plan should include the child support arrangements between the parties. Once the plan has been accepted by the court, and the divorce is final, the child support becomes an order of the court. Failing to follow the terms of the plan, including failing to pay child support, can be considered contempt of court. If either of the parties wish to change anything in the Parenting Plan it requires court approval.
Can the Child Support Amount Be Changed?
Although the terms of a divorce decree are considered to be final judgments, a divorce is one of the few areas of the law in which modifications to a final decree are common. It is possible to change, or modify, a child support order; however, it is not something that can be done without the court’s participation. Moreover, before a party can even request a modification of the current child support order, one of the following must be true:
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.
These guidelines are in place to prevent parties from running to the court every time there is an argument or a small change that the party thinks warrants a change in the child support amount. The second criteria, a “material and substantial change in circumstances,” it what people often want to use to get in front of a judge for a modification because the term is somewhat vague. There are some situations that would clearly qualify, some that don’t and some that only a court can decide if they qualify or not. For example, if you permanently lost your job through no fault of your own, that would likely be considered a material and substantial change in circumstances for the purpose of requesting a modification. Conversely, if a party received a one-time Christmas bonus, that might not qualify.
How Can a Fort Worth Father’s Right Attorney Help?
If your ex is asking for more child support, you need to consult with an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights attorney right away. Your attorney can review the details of your situation and let you know if your ex has chance of getting a court to order an increase or not. Keep in mind that unless and until a court orders an increase in child support you are under no obligation to pay any additional support.
If you have additional questions or concerns about modifying child support or requesting an increase in child support in Texas, contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights attorney at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.