If it’s one thing that is a constant in families, it’s that things change. If a court ordered child support in your divorce or paternity case and now circumstances have changed substantially, a child support modification may be in order.
What types of changes warrant a child support modification (reduction or increase)? Generally, a court may modify child support when there has been a significant change in financial circumstances since the last child support order was made. Or, child support can be modified when there has been a change in child custody. For example, when the child moves in with the noncustodial parent and he or she assumes primary custody.
What if I Can’t See My Kids?
In Texas, parents have to financially support their children until they turn 18, or graduate high school, whichever occurs later. If the other parent is not letting you see your children during your court-ordered parenting time, you cannot stop paying child support. Child support and child custody are two separate matters. To enforce your right to see your children, you will need to take your ex to court.
If you stop paying child support for any reason, for example, because you lost your job, you went on workers’ compensation, or because your ex isn’t letting you see your kids, your child support obligation will continue to accrue.
You cannot change your monthly support obligation unless a court changes it. Also, child support is not retroactive. So, whenever you experience a significant change in circumstances that will continue, it’s essential to promptly go back to court and request a downward modification.
You may be eligible to have your child support obligation reduced if one or more of the following is true:
- The existing child support order was established three or more years ago;
- Your current monthly obligation would differ by $100 or 20% from the amount that would be ordered under the state’s child support guidelines; or
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances since the current child support order was made.
Examples of a “substantial change in circumstances” include the noncustodial parent’s income has changed, the noncustodial parent is now legally responsible for more children, the children have moved in with a different parent, or there has been a change in the children’s medical insurance.
To learn more about child custody modifications in Richmond, Texas, contact the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC.