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Family Law: termination of parental rights, rights of the child, child support. (USA)

When can child support orders be changed?


I have considerable experience in Family law matters and immigration issues and this is the short answer to your question for further information feel free to contact me at the number below.

Modifications to child support will not happen automatically. One of the parents must request the change by a formal motion to the court. The court that makes the original child support award has the authority to modify the order if conditions change. This is called a "change of circumstances" petittion.

Child support orders cannot be changed on a whim or because a court thinks that "it is time." It must be based on evidence proving that there is good reason to make the change. This usually requires that a person who wants to make the change show a changed circumstance. You must show that the facts that existed when the last order was entered have changed. (In the many years a child support order is in place, the parent's circumstances may change many times.) For example, in Texas, if one parent's income has changed (either gone up or down) by at least 25%, this is considered a big enough change to require a change in the support order. You can request a modification for a lesser change in income, but will not necessarily be guaranteed a change in the support order.

Many different scenarios can create changed circumstances. For example, if the paying parent has had a large increase in income, the court can order the child support increased. Or, if the child's needs grow, such as if the child becomes ill or disabled, the amount of support can be ordered raised. Sometimes the mere passage of time creates the changed circumstances. For example, as a child grows older, it becomes more expensive to buy clothes, food and other necessities. These increased expenses can be enough to justify a raise in the support order.

Also even though your husband had agreed to sponsor you fully, the fact that you have two children with him (soon will have) also changes his circumstances and ability to pay child support. You do NOT need an attorney to file such a petition and a law or a court clerk may help you fill it out once you go to family court.


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Articles and consultations authored by attorney reflect the state of law as of the date of their writing. The laws change daily. Users of this site are advised to consult attorney regarding their situation.
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