Whether included within divorce proceedings or part of a separate legal action, a child support order is final and must be followed as written. However, this does not mean the terms of this order cannot change. With the help of a dedicated child support attorney, you could work to modify your current child support order. Let a Missouri City child support modification lawyer assist you in dealing with the changing circumstances in your life by helping you change your agreement in way that is beneficial to you and your children.
Because the amount of monthly child support is set by court order, neither parent has the ability to modify the terms of this support obligation on their own. Instead, one or both parents must pursue a motion to modify the order originally entered by the court. There are specific guidelines that apply to the modification of a child support obligation. If a parent does not meet one of the two requirements, the court will not consider their request. A Missouri City attorney could assist with either approach for child support modification.
The first grounds for modification are based on changing circumstances. If the circumstances related to either parent or the child have materially changed, the court could consider a motion to alter the support obligation. This is true if the paying parent can no longer afford their support obligation or if their financial situation has improved to the point that the amount should be increased. The second option does not require proof of a material change in circumstances. However, this method cannot be used until at least three years since the last time the order changed. In this case, a parent could seek a modification if they can show that child support guidelines would require a change in support by at least 20% or $100 per month.
Not every change in the life of a parent or child is considered material. Instead, a material change must substantially alter the situation a family currently lives in. A Missouri City attorney could identify material changes in circumstances during the child support modification process.
The first example of a material change in circumstances involves changes in a parent’s income. If either parent sees a substantial increase or decrease in their income, it could qualify as a material change in circumstances. Another common example is a change in the medical insurance coverage for a child. This could include either the loss of coverage or an increase in the cost of premiums. A material change could also involve shifting parental custody. For example, the court could agree to lower child support if a parent becomes legally responsible for additional children from another partner. What is more, changes in living situations can also allow for the modification of child support orders.
The court must approve any changes that are made to a child support order. Without the help of an attorney, it could be difficult to secure this approval. Before you file a motion to modify your child support obligation, allow an attorney to review your case. Our Missouri City child support modification lawyers are skilled in using the law to create the most beneficial arrangement for you and your children.