The Texas Attorney General reported 1.5 million child support cases in the state as of 2022.
Child support provides financial assistance for the upbringing of children after the dissolution of a marriage or partnership. These orders depend on the circumstances at the time of the divorce or separation. However, life is constantly evolving, and situations change. So, when is it appropriate to seek a change in child support?
Significant changes in income
One of the most common reasons for modifying child support in Texas is a substantial change in either parent’s income. If the paying parent experiences a significant increase or decrease in their income, this may justify a modification. A loss of employment, a promotion or a substantial pay cut can all influence whether there is a need for an adjustment in child support.
Changes in the child’s needs
As children grow, their needs evolve. Modifications may be necessary if a child’s needs increase or decrease. For example, if a child requires additional support for educational expenses, healthcare or extracurricular activities, these changes could warrant an adjustment to the child support order.
Changes in custody arrangements
A modification may also be appropriate if there are changes in the custody arrangement. For instance, if the noncustodial parent gains more visitation time or shares custody more equally, this shift may affect child support obligations. Texas child support calculations take into account the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
Changes in medical coverage
Medical needs may also trigger modifications. If there are changes in healthcare insurance or the cost of coverage, these changes can impact child support. For example, if the cost of health insurance increases significantly, the child support order may need adjustment to ensure adequate coverage for the child’s medical needs.
Changes in the number of children
If either parent has additional children, the child support order may need revision to account for these new responsibilities. Additional dependents can affect the parent’s disposable income and, consequently, their child support obligations or needs.
Texas law allows modification of child support orders without showing a material change in circumstances if it has been three years since the establishment of the order or the last modification, and the new amount of child support differs by either 20% or $100 from the current support order.