Fort Worth Child Support Modification Attorney
Paying child support can be hard, especially if sudden financial changes have made it difficult to afford the payments. The same is true for those receiving child support: sudden changes could mean you need a lot more money to support your children than the order is willing to give you. For parents in either of these situations, Texas law often allows you to file to have your child support order revised to better reflect the current situation.
Call The Queenan Law Firm’s Fort Worth child support modification attorneys for help with your potential case. Our lawyers are experienced in helping parents adjust child support orders to better reflect their needs. For help with your case, call us to set up a free legal consultation at (817) 476-1797.
Grounds to Have Child Support Orders Changed in Fort Worth
If you want to get your child support order changes, you usually need to be able to show that there are grounds for it. When courts look at each parent’s financial situation and set the initial child support order – or when parents sign a child support agreement – the decision about how much to pay is based on many economic factors. Most importantly, courts and parents look at the following factors:
- How much each parent makes
- How much each parent has to pay in necessary expenses
- How much time each parent has with the kids
- What the children’s needs are (special needs, school tuition, etc.)
- How much work the parents can do while caring for their children
- How many children are covered in the support order
- How many other children each parent has.
Generally speaking, it is expected that as time goes by, these factors will change. Parents who experience “material and substantial changes” to any of these factors can file to have the support order modified. Changes are usually “material and substantial” if they actually alter these factors enough that the support order calculation would be quite a bit different.
This unfortunately limits many parents from seeking to have a support order modified. For instance, if you are struggling to pay child support but have not actually faced any changes to these factors, it could be the case that the order was always wrong in its initial calculation. Without a material and substantial change, you might not be able to file for modification – but your lawyer might be able to appeal the initial order or otherwise seek to have it changed through an agreement.
If you do meet the standards of a material and substantial change, you can have the court run a new calculation to re-determine the child support amount in your case. This system works both ways as well: if you find out that the payor has taken a higher-paying job or no longer has certain necessary expenses each month, you might be able to ask for a higher monthly child support payment for your kids.
You can also file to have a child support order terminated. The process is essentially the same, but the grounds are more specific. Child support orders can be terminated when the child is no longer your child to support. That happens if they turn 18 and graduate high school, if they are adopted by someone else, if they join the military, or if they pass away.
How to File for Child Support Modification in Fort Worth
A lawyer can help with any needs when filing to have a child support order modified. Generally speaking, child support orders are changed in one of two ways: either the parties come together and draft a new agreement to replace the old order/agreement or the parent petitions the court to change the order/agreement. In either case, it is important to work with a lawyer.
If the other parent agrees to sit down and discuss terms about modifying a child support order, it is often a good idea for both sides to be represented by counsel so that the lawyers can make sure the terms work as a legal agreement. There might not need to be any official requirements met to request a change through an agreement; you are free to do this any time. However, the judge must approve the agreement’s changes to finalize it.
If you want to get the order changed and have to go through the courts to get it accomplished, you will file a petition for child support modification with the court where the initial order was issued. This could mean going outside of Fort Worth, but our Fort Worth child support attorneys practice in other areas of Texas, too. When you file the petition for modification, it will lay out the details about what changes occurred and what relief you are seeking.
Before a child support modification is official, it needs to be approved by a judge and included in the order. That means that you have to continue paying and receiving support under the old order or agreement – you cannot suddenly change how much you pay or how much you ask for on your own without court approval. If you stop following the order before the new order is approved, you might face enforcement actions such as wage garnishment.
Call for a Free Legal Consultation with Our Fort Worth Child Support Modification Lawyers
If you are involved in a child support order that is not fair or you have faced economic changes that make the old order outdated, call the Fort Worth child support modification lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm. Our lawyers know that there is little chance that a support order will last from a child’s young days all the way through the time they turn 18, and we fight to help change orders and keep them fair to our clients. For your free case consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.