In a Texas divorce involving minor children, the person who has to pay the child support is called the obligor, and the person who receives it is the obligee. The obligee usually has primary custody of the child, incurs most of the expenses, and is the one with whom the child lives.
Texas assigns child support based on the guidelines outlined in Texas law, which lead the courts when deciding how much support to award. The obligor will usually pay support until the latter of the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. During this time, circumstances might change, and it might be necessary for one parent to modify the support order, which requires following a specific legal process.
If you need to change an existing child support order in Southlake, your first call should be to Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law. Our team handles all types of child support cases in family court.
The court will apply one of two standards, depending on whether the obligor’s net monthly income is more or less than $9,200.00. For the lower net monthly income, the court applies a standard of:
For those whose net monthly income is over $9,200, the court will apply these guidelines only to the first $9,200 of income. If the obligee can demonstrate special needs, the court may award more. However, the extra amount awarded cannot exceed the proven additional need.
Once the amount the obligor will pay is determined, the court will issue a child support order.
To seek a child support order modification, the obligor must prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances. Such a change can include job loss, transfer to an off-short job location, or if the custody agreement has changed. The obligor may also consult the Officer of Attorney General Child Support Division (OAG) to request a change if the order has been in place for at least three years and the current support amount varies from the current Guidelines by 20 percent or $100.
There are several steps in the process for modification. You may wish to get an attorney to help you through this process since it is somewhat complex and can, in the end, be very financially significant for you.
Your attorney can request a review and file a Child Support Modification Request.
You can request a modification if your order is at least three years old and differs by 20 percent of $100 from the current Guidelines. You may also request a change if you have experienced a “material and substantial” change in your circumstances.
A material and substantial change in circumstances might consist of:
Any one of these conditions entitles you to apply for a modification.
There are only two ways a modification happens. You can go to an in-office negotiation called a Child Support Review Process (CSRP), or you can go to court.
This process is an administrative process to modify child support, medical or dental support, or determine paternity. It usually takes place at a local Child Support Division Office. Usually, both spouses and the Child Support Officer are in the room for the meeting, which generally lasts for around an hour. If the parties agree on a proposed change, the Officer will send an order to a judge for signature. If not, the office will schedule a court hearing.
If there has been family violence or one spouse is a minor, the case must go to court. Or you can go to court. You and your spouse deciding the amount can be different and does not change the court-order amount for which the obligor is legally responsible.
Your case will go to court if:
At court, you will again meet with an officer to try to reach an agreement. If you do, the judge will receive the order and sign it. If not, an assistant attorney general presents the case to the judge, and the judge will decide. Cases that go to court can take a long time and sometimes more than one court appearance.
If you are involved in a contentious child support dispute, you should contact an experienced attorney at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law today. Contact us or call 817-900-8330 for skilled assistance with your child support needs.