Both parents must provide financial support for their children until they reach adulthood in most cases. When parents decide to separate, they must negotiate a child support arrangement that works for them. A court then incorporates the agreement into a divorce decree or a parenting plan and issues it as a court order.
Over time though, a child’s needs and a parent’s circumstances could change, and sometimes those changes could lead to a need to modify a child support order. However, the parents must convince the court that modifying the order is in the children’s best interests.
Whether you are paying or receiving child support, and whether you desire to modify the order or wish to keep the current order in place, reach out to a Pearland child support modification lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates. During an initial consultation, a seasoned child support attorney at our firm could discuss your goals and suggest a strategy to help you achieve them.
Texas state -law requires both parents to contribute to their children’s financial support. In most cases, the parent who lives with the child most of the time (custodial parent) receives child support from the parent who has visitation rights (non-custodial parent). Courts assume that when a child lives with a parent, the parent contributes to the child’s support by providing a home, food, and other necessities of life.
When a parent does not live with a child, they must contribute a portion of their monthly net resources towards the child’s support. Monthly resources include income the parent earns from:
The percentage of resources they must pay depends on the number of children they must support.
Courts try to prevent a parental breakup from significantly impacting a child’s standard of living, so if the family had a high income, the parent with more resources might pay more child support. If there is a significant change to either parent’s resources, a change in the support obligation could be appropriate. If the parents agree on a modified child support arrangement, they must formalize their agreement and submit it to the court for approval.
Courts allow child support modifications when a parent can demonstrate that a material change in circumstances requires a revision and the change is in the best interest of the children. A dedicated Pearland child support modification attorney could help a parent compile evidence demonstrating a material change and that a modification is in their children’s best interests.
A material change must be significant and permanent or long-lasting. The material change could affect one parent or the child. A health concern that prevents a parent from working for a significant period or requires a child to undergo extensive medical intervention could be a material change that merits a change in child support. If a child develops a particular talent in sports or the arts, a court might award a child support modification to support the child’s training.
A significant reduction or increase in either parent’s income could merit a modification as well, though, courts will penalize a parent who intentionally earns less to minimize their child support obligation. Texas Family Code §154.0655 allows a court to impute the income they believe a parent could be earning, based on their work history, education, and skills, when calculating child support.
Whenever a court considers a matter involving children, it decides based on the child’s best interest standard. Child support modification must pass this test even when the parents agree that a modification is appropriate.
The child’s best interest means the outcome that supports the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, educational attainment, and continued relationship with both parents. Although it might seem counterintuitive, a court could find a reduction in child support is in a child’s best interest if the reduction allows the paying parent to be more involved in the child’s life and the child will not suffer a significant change in lifestyle.
Determining the children’s best interest requires a court to weigh various factors, depending on the circumstances. An experienced lawyer in Pearland could help a parent or couple present a case that a specific child support modification is or is not in a child’s best interest.
Child support arrangements that served their purpose well when a couple first separated might not be ideal as the child grows and develops. Parents’ circumstances also change, which could affect how much they can or should pay.
If your child support agreement is no longer working for you, it is possible to seek a modification if you can prove the change supports your child’s best interest. Get in touch with a Pearland child support modification lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates to discuss your specific situation and find out how our team could help. Call today.