As a parent receiving child support in Texas, you are aware that over time, as your circumstances change, the support you receive covers less and less. Of course, this begs the question – how soon and how often can you ask for an increase in child support?
We’ll delve into the factors that determine when and how frequently modifications can be requested. Contact a Woodlands child support lawyer at Bolton Law for the help you need.
How Do You Go About Requesting an Increase in Child Support in Texas?
If you want your ex to pay you more in child support, you have a few options. First, you can come right out and ask your ex. If they agree to pay more, your child support lawyer in Woodlands can draw up a new order and submit it to the court.
Chances are that your ex isn’t going to voluntarily agree to increase their child support. Unless you promise to accept less money per month than they’d be required to pay under the child support guidelines, it wouldn’t make sense for them to agree to the change.
What if You and Your Co-Parent Cannot Agree to a New Child Support Agreement?
If you can’t come to a new agreement amicably, then you have two ways to request an increase in child support.
You can request a review of your current child support order through the Texas Child Support Review Process. This process is very similar to mediation. If the two parents can come to an agreement, the TCSR Officer will submit a copy of your new proposed order to the judge for approval.
Your child support lawyer can file a motion with the family court asking the judge to order an increase. Your ex will have 14 days to respond. Both parents will then have to attend a hearing before the judge. The judge will review the information the two of you submitted and make their final decision.
Texas Has Specific Rules About How Often You Can Request a Change in Child Support
In Texas, you must wait three years from the date of your existing order to request a change in child support, provided that the monthly amount of child support owed has changed by at least 20 percent or $100.
However, the law does provide an exception to the three-year rule for people who’ve experienced a material and substantial change in circumstances. If you can prove that you fall into this category, you can request a change at any time.
To prove that your circumstances have changed materially and substantially, your child support lawyer in Woodlands must prove the following:
- This change has been substantial. For example, if your ex received a raise of $2,000 per year, it may qualify as material as income goes directly to the heart of determining child support. However, it isn’t a substantial change.
- This change must be permanent or will persist for a significant period of time. The judge isn’t going to increase child support because the non-custodial parent signed a contract to work for a company for three or four months.
Are There Any Other Ways Your Child Support Can Increase?
If you can’t justify an increase in the ways described above, that doesn’t mean your child support will stay the same forever. In Texas, you’ll receive cost of living increases automatically.
You’ll get a notice in the mail letting you know what your new support rate will be. One good thing about this is that it serves as a reminder that you should look at your child support situation.
This way, every year, you check to see if you qualify for an increase due to a material and substantial change in circumstances.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for Requesting an Increase?
When you request an increase in child support, you need to offer a specific reason. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Change in either parents’ income, be it an increase or decrease
- Change in the children’s health care insurance premiums or coverage
- Change in the number of days the non-custodial parent will have the kids
- One of the parents has become responsible for another child
- One of the children has a special medical, psychological, or educational need
- The non-custodial parent has experienced a windfall, such as an inheritance
Your child support lawyer can’t make up a reason or exaggerate the change in circumstances. The court expects specific proof demonstrating that there has been a material and substantial change.
Factors the Court Will Consider When Granting an Increase in Payments
There are many factors a court will consider when granting an increase in payments, such as:
- The current financial situation of the paying parent: If the paying parent has experienced a significant change in income (either an increase or decrease), this may warrant a modification to the support payments.
- The needs of the child: If there has been a significant change in the child’s needs (such as a medical condition), this may also warrant an increase in support payments.
- The cost of living: If there has been a significant change in the cost of living (such as a move to a more expensive city), this may also warrant an increase in support payments.
- The age of the child: As the child gets older, their need for financial support will generally decrease. This is typically considered when determining whether to grant an increase in payments.
Contact a Woodlands Child Support Lawyer Today
Whether you go through the Texas Child Support Review process or the courts, it can take more than six months to get an increase in support. Plus, the court will not make any new child support order retroactive. That’s why we suggest you contact our family lawyers in The Woodlands, Texas right away.
Contact our team at Bolton Law online or by calling 281-351-7897 today.