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Is child support adjustable?

In Texas, when a couple divorces, each party is still required to supply financial support to their children. The court may order one parent to pay child support — usually, the person not named the primary custody holder or the spouse who has been the breadwinner in the marriage. The amount ordered is determined by looking at a number of factors. What happens if, down the line, the payer or payee feels there is an issue with the ordered amount?

Believe it or not, child support orders are adjustable. How can the payer or payee seek a support modification?

Talk it out

It may be possible for you and your ex to come to new terms on your own. If, by talking things out, you can come to agreeable terms, you must submit your proposed plan for court approval. The changes you agreed to will not take effect until the court approves, so those paying should keep paying the amount listed in the original court order until the modification is actually official.

Go to court

If you and your ex are not able to negotiate a new support agreement, you may have to take the issue to court. If you do this, you need to be ready to defend your position. The court will not adjust a support order without a good reason. Some acceptable reasons for modifying a support order include:

  • Income reduction
  • Income increase
  • Child's needs have changed

In other words, a change in circumstances must have occurred. Without that, the court is not likely to change a support order.

Get help

If you or your ex wishes to pursue a child support adjustment, you may want help. You do not have to figure out this issue on your own. Each party has the right to retain legal counsel who can assist with negotiating new terms or fighting the matter out in court.

At the end of the day, child support is about the children. It is about making sure your children's needs are being met appropriately. Finding the right balance can be a challenge. If your current support order is not accomplishing that or if your order is for an amount that does not fit within your budget, then it may be worth your time to seek an adjustment.

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