When parents of a child cannot jointly raise their child due to separation or divorce, they should have court orders on how they will share custody and how the child should be financially supported by the non-custodial parent. This child support order is based on facts and circumstances as they exist at the time the order is made. However, there comes a time one parent may seek a modification of this order.
Seeking a modification of a child support order, or any court order for that matter means asking the court to change the order to reflect new facts or information the court did not have at the time the order was entered. The modification might need to involve filing a modification case with the family court, and you should seek help from an experienced Sugar Land, TX child support lawyer with this process.
Who Can File a Modification?
Either parent can file a child support modification case. However, if you are not the child’s parent, you can file a modification case involving the child, but only if:
- You are named in the current order as a party
- You have provided actual care and have had control and possession of the child for at least six months (ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case with the court), and you are not a foster parent.
- You have lived with the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator for at least six months (ending not more than 90 days before the date you file the modification case), and the child’s parent, guardian, or conservator has died.
- You are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew and:
- Both parents are deceased
- Both parents, the surviving parent or managing conservator agree
- The child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.
Legal Standard for Modifying Child Custody Order
To modify child support order under Texas Family Code 156.401, you must prove that:
- The circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed, or
- It has been at least three years since the last child support order, and a new support order, based on child support guidelines, would differ from the last support order by at least 20% or $100.
What is a “material and substantial change in circumstances” for changing child support or medical and dental support?
This generally means that at least one of these things has happened:
- The income of the parent ordered to pay child support has either increased or decreased, or
- The parent ordered to pay child support is now legally responsible to take care of additional children, or
- The child’s medical insurance coverage has changed, or
- The child’s living arrangements have changed.
It is important to note that filing a frivolous modification case could result in court-ordered penalties, so make sure your case meets the above requirements.
Contact a Sugar Land, TX Child Support Lawyer for Help
If you have questions or wish to learn more about how to modify your child support order, contact the legal team of Jamie Jordan, PLLC, today for a free and confidential consultation. We are ready to help in any way we can.