Monday, April 14, 2014

Increasing or Decreasing the Child Support Amount

Changing circumstances may create a need for a change in the monthly child support amount.

Some common reasons for this to happen:

  1. Change in financial circumstances - less money.  The Obligor (Payor) may lose his/her job, be laid off, of have some type of pay reduction, so that s/he may seek a change in child support.
  2. Change in financial circumstances -more money.  The Obligor may make more money that s/he was making at the time the order was entered.  The Obligee (receiver of the money) may decide to go back to court to seek a higher amount of child support if they have reason to believe that the Obligor is now making more money that before.  (The Payor who wishes to pay a higher amount voluntarily due to more favorable financial circumstances is certainly allowed to do so without having to have a court order.)  
  3. Change in the Child's Circumstances - The child may have additional needs that were not addressed in the original calculation of child support funds. These needs are usually medical needs or educational ones.    For instance, a "new" diagnosis of a disability which requires specialized treatment and training may be a reason for a parent to seek a higher amount of child support from the paying parent.  
  4. A Change in Visitation or Access - A significant change in the amount of time that the child spends with a parent may cause one of the parties to seek a change in the amount of child support to be paid.  For instance, if Obligor now has the child living with him/her all or most of the time then it would be reasonable to ask for a decrease in payment, or even seek child support from the prior Obligee. 
Before a case is filed for a change in child support, you should:
  1. Read your existing court order to see what it says now;
  2. Read your existing court order to see if you are obligated to take any steps prior to filing a suit (mediation, for instance);
  3. Make sure that the change you want is reasonable under the Texas law -contact a child support attorney for assistance with this.  A family law attorney may also be able to help work out an agreement with the other party, rather than having a fight in court. 
When deciding a child support case the judge will use the Texas child support calculations from the Texas Family Code and will examine the facts and circumstances of the case to determine the best interests of the child. 

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