When a court is making a decision about the amount of money the non-custodial parent will pay for child support, they do not consider hypothetical examples. What they consider is the non-custodial parent’s income and other factors at that time when the order is given.
Child Support in Texas
This means that if you were thinking of changing jobs, or expecting a raise in the next few months, or are not sure you will be in the same job in the future; the court will not consider any of this when calculating the amount of child support.
Similarly, the parent receiving child support cannot make the court consider these hypotheticals as grounds to increase or lower child support amounts.
If your circumstances or circumstances of your spouse change after child support orders have been given, the only option you have is child support modification. This is where the child support figure is modified because of change in circumstances of either party or a child.
Child Support Modification
When both parties agree on how to modify child support, the modification process will be quite swift. All they will need to do after agreeing to modify the order is submit a proposed custody order reflecting the changes to the court.
The court will then review it and decide whether to approve it. Once it has been approved it becomes legally enforceable. Another way the child support order can be modified is when a substantial changed has happened to either of the parties or the child.
It may also be modified if 3 years have elapsed since the date the prior order was signed by a judge.
Just like most cases involving child support, there is a chance that only one parent may be for the child support modification.
The modification process in this scenario will take a longer time to settle. However, the parent that wants the order to be modified will have to demonstrate that:
- The changes the parent is proposing will serve the best interest of the child
- The child is 12 years old and wants to change the primary caregiver
- There are material and substantial changes in circumstances
3 Year Rule
The three year rule exists to prevent either party involved in the child support case from constantly attempting to modify child support.
Without this rule there would be numerous modification cases in court that may clog the court’s dockets. So it is a rule for the benefit of the courts.
The three year rule has a requirement that a change can only be made if child support will be more than 20% or $100 different than what the current order states.
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Material And Substantial Changes
Courts are often meticulous in determining what a material and substantial change is.
You will have to show the financial and material needs or expenses at the time of divorce, and the financial and material expenses and needs during the modification case.
This will act as evidence to prove substantial and material changes in circumstances. What may lead to change in financial and material needs include the child developing a new serious medical condition and so on. An experienced attorney can review your case and help you determine whether to file a petition to modify child support.