As part of a Texas divorce settlement, parents must discuss financial issues, especially those that pertain to their children. Child custody litigation often includes matters of child support. When a judge issues a court order, it remains active unless and until the court grants a modification. There are specific legal steps a parent must take if he or she wishes to request a change in the amount of financial support that is currently being paid.
Most judges will want to see evidence that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred that merits modification of an existing child support order. For instance, if a parent who is paying support unexpectedly loses his or her job, this would constitute a legitimate reason for requesting a change in an existing child support order. On the other hand, it is not always the paying parent who requests modification.
If, for instance, the parent receiving payments on behalf of the children determines that the children’s financial needs have increased, he or she may ask the court to modify the court order to an increased payment amount. The court typically takes both parents’ incomes under consideration, as well as other issues, such as any special expenses a child might have. Medical needs, education expenses, dental costs or other topics might apply to a particular case. If a parent determines a need to request modification of a child support order, a petition should be filed in a timely manner.
In the meantime, both parents must continue to adhere to the court order that is already in place. Even if a parent feels unable to keep making payments, the obligation to do so remains unless the judge overseeing the case grants a modification. Serious legal problems may arise for any parent who takes it upon him or herself to stop making child support payments without the court’s permission to do so. A concerned parent will want to research Texas laws before addressing custody issues in court.