What Are the Steps to Modify a Child Support Order in Texas?
A. Through the Attorney General
You must follow a specific process and meet several requirements to change a child support order. The eligibility requirements for support modification include:
- It’s been at least three years since the last order was issued; and
- The new monthly payment amount would differ by at least $100 or 20% from the last order; or
- There has been a substantial and material change in circumstances since the last child support order.
A substantial and material change in circumstances means a significant development in either parent’s or the child’s life, such as the supporting parent’s income decreases or the child’s medical insurance coverage changes.
Below are the steps you must follow to request a modification to an already-established child support order.
File the Request
Complete a form to request a review of the current child support arrangement. You can submit the form online or by mail to the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division. You should also send specific documentation for the agency to verify your information, such as:
- Health insurance information for your child
- Each person’s income
- Residential addresses
The agency should contact you and your former spouse within 30 days of receiving your request. They might ask for additional documentation if necessary.
Review by a Child Support Review Specialist
A specialist will review all previous agreements you and your former spouse established or the court ordered, including child support arrangements and medical support orders. Determining whether to grant the modification will involve considering factors such as:
- The proposed support obligation amount;
- How much time has passed since a judge signed the last order
- Changes in either parent’s or the child’s life, such as income, custody, and health insurance
Wait for Decision
The specialist will decide whether to proceed with the request and send you and the other parent a letter regarding the decision and additional steps you must take.
If the agency doesn’t approve the request, either parent can contest the denial and submit a request for another review.
If your modification request was approved, there would be a court date or negotiation appointment you must attend.
Attend the Appointment
If the agency schedules an appointment, you and the other parent will negotiate a new child support order. Multiple sessions might be necessary to reach terms you can agree upon.
If you and your former spouse can’t resolve the matter during negotiations, the next step will involve a court hearing before a judge.
Appear in Court
Both parties can present their cases in court if reaching an agreement during negotiations isn’t successful. A judge will listen to both sides and decide whether to modify the child support order.
It can take some time for the judge to enter a decision. They will notify you and the other parent in writing of the modification if they approve of the requested changes. You should also receive legal documents to sign and return to the court.
File New Order
After you and your former spouse sign the new child support order, the judge will sign the order and update your case to show the modification.
B. Through a Private Attorney
Consult with an attorney familiar with Texas family law. The attorney will file a modification directly with the Family Court.
Get Help with Your Child Support Modification
Changing a child support order can be complicated. You should only proceed with the legal process once you retain representation from Hargrave Law, PC. We have extensive experience handling sensitive cases like yours. You can depend on our team to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
Begin work on modifying a child support order by calling us today at 817-282-0679 for a confidential consultation with a child support modification attorney in Bedford, TX.