Remarriage and Child Support in Texas
- Texas child support is carefully calculated
- Will remarriage affect child support in my situation?
- How to request child support modification in Texas
- How to fight a child support modification
You might wonder if your remarriage would change any outstanding child support obligations you have in Texas. In most cases, the answer to this question is no. However, certain items related to your new marriage could change your child support situation.
Texas child support is carefully calculated
Calculating child support in Texas is complex. Your income will play a role in how much you pay, but so will how many children you have to support. If your income falls below a certain threshold, your child support obligations won't exceed a certain percentage of your net resources. If you make over a certain amount, you may be responsible for additional amounts in child support payments.
Will remarriage affect my Texas child support arrangement?
Possibly. While remarriage itself isn't a reason to modify child support, there are several related reasons you could request a child support modification in Texas:
- It has been three years or more since the court order for support was established or modified.
- There is a difference of $100 or 20% between what is being paid and what would be paid under current guidelines.
- There are other substantial changes in your circumstances.
The last one of the three bullet points above is the most ambiguous. What does it mean? If you experience a substantial life change such as losing a job, having another child, or moving to a new location, a court might grant a child support order modification. Be aware that nothing is guaranteed, so the more evidence you can provide showing that a change is warranted, the better.
Changes in circumstance that might affect child support
As noted, getting remarried won't be enough to warrant a change in your child support order. However, related reasons like job loss could be enough.
Another scenario that might warrant a reduction in child support payments in Texas is the addition of one or more minor stepchildren to your family. Because the new family unit would be required to support these children, a reduction in outstanding child support obligations could result. Note: This is not guaranteed.
Child support modification can also go in the other direction. If the paying parent is now making substantially more money, the receiving parent could petition the court to increase the child support owed. The court would want to see evidence of the payor's increase in salary, including assurance that it's not temporary. If satisfied, a judge may issue an order for an increase in child support payments.
How to request a child support modification in Texas
It's important to note that a paying parent cannot unilaterally stop paying child support. The only way child support payments may end is when the order expires or a judge issues an order ending the payments.
In Texas, if you're having trouble making child support payments, it's best to pay as much as you can. If you stop making payments altogether, the amount you owe will grow faster, especially considering the fact that every dollar you don't pay is subject to a 6% interest charge.
To request a child support modification in Texas:
- Gather evidence to present to the judge. This evidence will need to show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances – enough to prompt a change in the child support award.
- File a petition for the modification. Once you do, alert the other parent. You can do this by hiring a process server to provide them with a copy of the petition and giving them time to respond.
- The judge will want to hear from both of you. This will be your opportunity to present your evidence and arguments for increasing or decreasing child support payments. Because of the complexity and calculations involved in Texas child support payments, the judge may not give you an answer at the hearing. You may have to wait a few days or weeks for a written update.
Whatever the judge decides, you'll need to follow it. You always have the right to appeal a judge's decision, but you must follow the order until a new decision is made.
Although Texas child support calculations are based on a formula, there is a lot of wiggle room. A judge will look at numerous factors before determining the final amount.
How to fight a child support modification in Texas
If you receive child support payments and your child's other parent is looking to reduce their obligation, you can challenge it in court. For example, if you have evidence that the other party hasn't had a reduction in income or has assets they're hiding from the court, this information might be enough for a judge to reject the petition to reduce child support payments.
Similarly, if you're the paying parent and your ex-spouse wants an increase in child support from you, you could provide evidence that your income has not changed and that there are no other significant changes in your circumstances that would warrant an increase in the amount you pay. This might be enough for a judge to reject the other party's requested increase.
Child support modifications can be complex and require a keen eye. Hello Divorce has a deep understanding of divorce law in Texas and may be able to help. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to learn more.