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As children get older and a parent’s financial situation changes it may become necessary to seek a modification of the prior support order. In order to change the order, a party has to file an Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship which opens back up the prior child support case.
Texas law requires that in order to change the prior order, the party seeking the change must show:
1. that the circumstances have materially and substantially changed, or
2. at least three years have based since the prior order and the new guideline child support would differ from the last order by at least 20% or $100.
If the parent paying support has changed jobs and his or her income has gone up or down the situation may warrant a new calculation to determine the appropriate support amount. Child support is also based on how many children the paying parent has, so if that parent has a new child the percentage of income going to child support would go down.
It is important to remember that only the judge can change the child support amount. Just because you have a new child or your income has gone down doesn’t mean you can start paying a lower amount. The parent must file a request to modify with the court and have it approved by the judge before it is effective.
If you or the other parent’s financial situation has changed it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney and see if a modification would be possible and what change in support you might expect. Then you can decide if it is in your child’s best interest to seek a child support change from the court.
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