The modification of a child custody agreement or child support agreement often requires a showing of extraneous circumstances which have occurred since the original agreement was signed. This could be a shift of circumstances of either parent, or the child. While some parents may be able to come to an agreement on their own, others may require the expertise of a family law judge. If you are in the middle of a child support or child custody modification, you may need the assistance of a family law attorney.
Child Support Modification
During instances of child support modification, the court may appoint an impartial third party to act as a parenting coordinator to assist the parties in resolving parenting issues. This is especially common during issues involving “high conflict.” The parenting coordinator may identify the disputed issues, although may not testify in court.
Child custody agreements may be modified if the circumstances of the child or the parent at issue have materially and substantially changed. The support may also be modified if it has been at least three years since the last child support order was agreed to, and the monthly amount under the existing order differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would currently be awarded based on child support guidelines. However, it is important to note that the salary of a new spouse will not affect the existing child support obligations. Therefore, a new spouse’s income may not be taken into account if the parent paying child support marries an individual whose income is substantially higher.
It is also important to note that a change in lifestyle, such as an increase in the standard of living, does not necessarily warrant an increase in child support obligations. A court will continue to look at the ongoing needs of the child each month, and will accordingly award the representative amount based on the Texas Family Code standards. The vast majority of child support modifications occur because the paying parent has either lost their job or was forced to take a pay cut.
Child Custody Modification
A child custody agreement may be modified if the best interests of the child are taken into account, and the circumstances of the child or one of the parents have materially and substantially changed. The child custody agreement may also be modified in limited situations where the child has reached age 12 and prefers a different parent as the location of their primary residence, or in situations where the parent with the exclusive right of designating primary residence has voluntarily relinquished primary care for a period longer than 6 months.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Modification Attorney
If you are involved in the modification of a child support or child custody agreement, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Our attorneys are well experienced in handling all family law matters, including the modification of existing orders. It is important to ensure that you are retaining the relationship with your child that you are entitled to, and are paying the appropriate amount of child support each month. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.