You went through the divorce process and now find yourself having to pay child support to your ex. You are okay with this; you know it is your job to provide for your children. However, you’ve been paying a lot for a while now, and your financial circumstances have changed since the original child support issued by a Texas court. This leaves you wondering what you can do about it. Believe it or not, you may be able to seek an order modification.

Not just anyone who asks for one can receive a child support modification. There needs to be sufficient reason for making a change that will affect your children. Below are some common questions and answers that parents in Texas may have about child support modifications.

How do I seek a modification?

If you believe you qualify for a permanent support modification, there are two ways to go about getting it — file a petition in court or request a support review. It is always possible to come to terms with your ex on your own, but that will not change the court order and could end up costing you later.

If you choose to go through the child support review process, it is a matter of submitting your request to the proper authorities. If that fails or your ex is fighting your request, you may have to go to court. To get that process started, you must file the appropriate petition, pay any court fees, have the petition served to your ex and set up a court hearing. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case.

How do I know if I qualify for a modification?

To have your support order adjusted, you will either have to wait three to four years from the initial establishment date of your order, or prove that you’ve experienced a change in circumstances. Acceptable changes in circumstances include:

  • Income change
  • Custody arrangement adjustment occurred
  • Insurance change
  • Proof that you now have other children to support

Basically, anything significant that would affect your ability to pay, or a change in your child’s needs, are acceptable reasons to seek a support adjustment.

When will the modification — approved — become active?

As soon as the court establishes a new order, the new payment amount becomes active. The hardest part is getting approval. That can take time. Every case is different.

If you need a child support modification, it is best to start the process of seeking one sooner rather than later. Legal counsel can review your case and, if appropriate, help you fight for a support order that works with your current fiscal situation.