While the Texas family law judges are free to use their discretion when making several determinations, they must abide by specific guidelines when setting child support amounts. The goal of child support is to ensure the child enjoys the same standard of living he or she grew accustomed to in a two-parent household, and not to punish one parent by saddling him or her with an unnecessary financial burden. For this reason, the courts are not quick to modify orders. In fact, they will only do so in very specific circumstances. Subchapter E of the Texas Family Code outlines the grounds for modification of child support.

According to the Code, modification of child support also includes modification of orders that provide for health and dental coverage. You may seek a modification in one of a select few circumstances. The first is if you experience a substantial and material change in circumstances. The change must have occurred either after the date that the judge finalized the order or after the date that you and your child’s other parent signed a mediated or arbitrated settlement agreement, which ever occurred first.

You can seek a modification without experiencing a substantial or material change in circumstances if it has been three years since the judge rendered your current order or since the date of the last modification. The judge will only grant a change if the amount you wish to pay differs by either $100 or 20% from the amount that the child support guidelines say you should pay.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.