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Changing circumstances may alter child support arrangements

You probably felt that making child custody and support arrangements was one of the most emotionally difficult parts of the whole divorce procedure. However, you and the other parent came to an agreement that has been satisfactory for the most part.

However, change happens in life, and circumstances have developed that warrant a change to your child support order. How will the court view your request for modification?

The order as it stands

When you and your ex-spouse were going through divorce, the judge considered various factors in determining a workable custody and visitation schedule for your child and took your financial situation into consideration when determining the amount of child support you should pay. The court standard is that the child’s best interests are always top priority, including her need for stability and a proper home environment.

Why a change is necessary

Unfortunately, you have been laid off from work while the company is reorganizing under Chapter 11. Meanwhile, you have secured part-time employment with another company, but your income is much lower. As the noncustodial parent, you cannot afford the amount of child support that you have been paying.

Requirements of the court

In the state of Texas, an order for child support may be changed for the payor if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, if the original order has been in effect for at least three years or if the modified amount to be awarded differs from the original amount either by $100 or by 20 percent.

Seeking legal assistance

A family law attorney will tell you that only the court can make any modification to the amount of child support you pay: You and the other parent cannot make this kind of change simply by mutual consent. The court looks at “material and substantial changes” in either the child’s circumstances or your own as the noncustodial parent.

The company you worked for may employ you once again after its restructuring is complete, and your income may increase—but that will take time. Meanwhile, your request for change is reasonable and your attorney can assist you in petitioning the court for modification to your child support obligation.

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