Providing for children is a matter Texas law takes very seriously, so a parent under a child support order cannot seek a modification for just any reason. However, sometimes major life events happen and necessitate a change in support. According to state law, a modification may happen in the event of a material and substantial change in circumstances.
The state attorney general website explains what constitutes a material and substantial change in regards to child support modification.
CHANGES INVOLVING A NONCUSTODIAL PARENT
A noncustodial parent does not have custody of the children for the majority of the time. This means the noncustodial parent will not have primary responsibility for caring for the children, though the parent still contributes by having occasional custody and providing support payments. In the event a noncustodial parent experiences important life changes, it can affect the parent’s ability to pay support.
For instance, the noncustodial parent may get fired or laid off. This could necessitate lowering support until the parent finds a new job. Conversely, the noncustodial parent may come into more money through a higher-paying job. This could cause the state to raise support. Additionally, a noncustodial parent may take responsibility for more children, which could affect the support calculation.
CHANGES IN A CHILD’S MEDICAL INSURANCE
Your support agreement may include arrangements for you to provide insurance for your children. If so, anything that changes the coverage for your offspring may necessitate a change in the support agreement. For example, you may be switching jobs and need to change the insurance coverage so your new employer will cover your children. Conversely, your ex may be providing the coverage and has notified you of a need to change the policy.
A CHANGE IN CHILD CUSTODY
If you are a noncustodial parent, you do not have the main responsibility for housing and sustaining your children. However, if you are now the custodial parent, you will probably have to change how much you pay in support since you are now paying directly for your children’s food, shelter and other important needs.
In the event these circumstances apply to you or your spouse, a Child Support Review Process or a hearing may be in your future. Consider preparing your case if you believe a modification hearing is on the horizon.