The idea behind child support is to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parent contribute proportionately to child’s necessities as well as extracurricular activities. That being said, life happens, circumstances change, costs increase and a need for a modification to a child support order may be needed.
Child support payments generally do not come to an end until the child graduates high school or turns 18, whichever comes later. Even then, court orders or divorce decrees can extend payments until the child graduates college. Prices can increase incrementally in that time frame.
As if child support were not financially taxing enough, a judge may require one or both parents to provide medical support including medical coverage or cash payments for the shared child. If the non-custodial parent happens to find him- or herself burdened with that expense, it can become financially crippling as well.
It’s important to note that no matter why the increase or decrease is being solicited or who is requesting the modification, all changes to child support amounts must be made of and approved by a family court judge. In evaluating the case, the judge will look to see evidence showing what is in the best interest of the child.
If a parent loses his or her job or is unable to pay child support due to financial reasons, it’s important that he or she contacts the court immediately. That being said, doing so doesn’t preclude the non-custodial parent from paying his or her ordered support amount until the point at which a new court order has been entered.
Even then, parents only qualify for child support modifications if it has been at least three years since the previous order was entered. In this case, if the amount a parent is currently paying differs by $100 or by 20 percent of what he or she would otherwise be paying, he or she may qualify for a modification as well.
A parent who seeks a child support obligation reduction on the grounds he or she lost his or her job is additionally required to provide proof of the attempts to become gainfully employed once again. Along those lines, they must either show they are looking for a job or participating in an employment training program.
If you or someone you know is seeking a child support modification, a Houston, Texas, family law attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.
Source: The Attorney General of Texas, “Handbook for non-custodial parents,” accessed Feb. 23, 2017