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Child Support Modifications

In certain situations, a court order for child support may be subject for modification if a one or both parents have undergone a major life event such as being terminated from their job. These cases often require proof of a “material and substantial change in circumstances” in order to successfully modify child support payments, which can be a difficult task to accomplish.

Parents who are unable to make current payments should pursue modifications as soon as possible. Failure to provide funds for support payments can lead to possible criminal penalties. To learn more about your legal options as a noncustodial or custodial parent, we urge you to speak to Horak Law. Our experienced legal team can address all your concerns and determine the best strategies to pursue your best interests in regard to child support.

Houston Child Support Modification Lawyer | Harris County, TX

Successfully obtaining a modification for a child support order is by no means an easy task. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a child support modification or wish to contest one, consult Horak Law. Family law attorney Matthew Horak and his accompanying legal team can assist you throughout every phase of the process. We can lay out the groundwork for you, that way you can rest assured no stone is uncovered when it comes to protecting your interests.

Call our offices at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Horak Law is located in both Houston and The Woodlands but accepts clients throughout the State of Texas including Harris County, Montgomery County, Waller County, Brazoria County, and Galveston County.

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Texas Laws for Child Support Modification

The State of Texas permits either party, whether they are the custodial or noncustodial parent, affected by a child support order to petition the court for modifications if they meet the criteria highlighted under Texas law. According to the Texas Family Code Section 156.401, a child support order can be modified if the petitioner meets one of the following requirements.

  • The circumstances of the child or the person affected by the order has substantially and/or materially changed; or
  • Three years have passed since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly awarded amount differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would normally be granted in accordance with Texas’s child support laws

In addition to the above, the court will grant a modification to a child support order if the noncustodial parent has been released from jail or prison. The order may be modified if it was initially determined based on the fact the noncustodial parent was incarcerated. In some cases, the government may provide assistance with a child support case. These are often referred to as IV-D child support, and with this type of order a modification may be granted at any point without any necessary proof of evidence.

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Reasons for a Child Support Modification

The guidelines for child support modifications under the Texas Family Code are arguably vague. Many factors can “materially and substantially change” a person’s circumstances, so how does the court discern when modification is appropriate or not? The answer is that the outcome of a modification hearing will depend on the grounds the petition is filed under, the dynamic between parents, the petitioner’s past with the child, and other factors.

Listed below are several reasons why the court may grant a modification to a child support order.

  • The child has discovered additional healthcare needs
  • The noncustodial parent was released from incarceration
  • The amount for monthly payments does not meet the child’s best interests
  • The noncustodial parent has had a change in income
  • The noncustodial parent lost their job
  • The noncustodial parent has just had another child
  • The noncustodial parent sustains an injury that affects their ability to work
  • The noncustodial parent remarries the custodial parent
  • The child’s custody order was modified, and the noncustodial parent now has full physical custody

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How Long Does a Child Support Modification Take in Texas?

For most cases, a modification to a child support order will take at least six months to finalize. The parent requesting modification must submit a Review for Modification to the county clerk. From there, the court will reach out to both parties within 30 days. A child support review specialist will conduct a comprehensive review to ensure the petition for modification does meet the criteria listed under the Family Code.

If the review is approved, then they will schedule a Child Support Review process appointment. The purpose of the appointment is to rewrite a new order and the process is much smoother if both parents attend. From there, they will work with both parties on writing a new court order for the judge to sign.  If one of the parties does not agree with the negotiating agreement, then the next step is to schedule a court date.

In court, both parties will appear and present their cases for or against modification. After hearing the evidence, the judge will then make a decision on the modification. Overall, the length of this process will depend on the how open the parties are to negotiations. These types of cases can lead to a finalized modification in just a month or so. If compromise isn’t possible, then a child support modification order may take months.

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Additional Resources

Office of Child Support Enforcement  – Visits the official website for the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) which is under the Administration for Children and Families. Learn more about the OCSE, who works with local and state agencies to help parents through the process of child support which includes enforcement.

Support Modification Process | TAG– Visit the official website for the Attorney General of Texas to learn more about the different resources for domestic issues in Texas, including child support.  They provide a detailed page dedicated to the modification process, what forms are required, how long it may take, and other important information.

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Child Support Modification Lawyer, Houston TX | Horak Law

If you’re a parent or conservator affected by a child support order seeking modification or wishing to contest a modification, call Horak Law. We understand how stressful legal proceedings involving your own child can be. Our team can provide effective and efficient legal counsel to ensure your child’s best interests are reserved. With over ten years of experience, you can trust Matthew Horak to have the skills, resources, and knowledge needed for your case.

Call (713) 225-8000 at Horak Law to set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak and his team. Horak Law have two offices in The Woodlands and Houston, Texas.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion