Circumstances Change. Should Child Support Change?

When a non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child support to a custodial parent, the obligation is set out to last until the child either turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, during this period, circumstances may change that can alter the amount of child support due from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.

A material change in circumstances that could affect a change in child support would be if income during this period changed, and a non-custodial parent could no longer pay the prior ordered amount of child support.  It will be necessary to file a Motion to Modify Child Support to prevent the accrual of child support at the old rate. Until a new order modifying child support is in place, the old amount of child support remains the same.

When a child comes to live with the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent is now providing actual support and resources to the child such that the child support obligation may decrease or cease. A non-custodial parent in this circumstance would be advised to file a Motion to Modify once the child has been residing with them in excess of court-ordered periods of possession for six months.

Direct support provided to the custodial parent in the form of direct payments that did not go through the Texas State Disbursement Unit in San Antonio may or may not be considered child support. Most orders of the court will say that payments are to route through the State Disbursement Unit. Some of these orders will also say that payments not made through the State Disbursement Unit are not child support and do not count towards it.

A parent ordered to pay child support will want to stay on top of their obligations under the court’s order. When circumstances have changed, such as new child support figures should be calculated, file an appropriate motion with the court.  A parent must also keep in mind that the longer they wait to address a change in circumstances, the more difficult it will be to modify the child support.

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