In cases involving separated co-parents, child support is a legal mandate that allows a non-custodial parent to financially support their child. While a child is still under a parent’s legal guardianship, child support is required from the non-custodial parent until they turn eighteen or graduate from high school (whichever occurs later). Because life circumstances are not static, it is customary for child support agreements to be modified and adjusted as significant and relevant changes unfold. Requests for modification of an existing child support agreement are approved on a case-by-case basis, and the assistance of knowledgeable counsel can help determine whether you are eligible for a revised child support agreement.
Not only is child support pivotal to a developing child’s health, education, and well-being, but these periodic payments significantly lessen the financial burden placed on a single parent. At Kirker Davis LLP, our family law attorneys are well-versed in drafting support agreements, enforcing child support, and filing motions to adjust support agreements.
Requirements for Modifying Support Agreements
Proceedings to modify a support agreement begin when one parent formally files a motion for change with the court. To be eligible, there must be evidence of a substantial change in conditions—this means you cannot request a change on an impulse or because it has been a long time since the last agreement was drafted. Changes must be significant enough that they warrant a revisitation of the original support agreement. This may include:
- A change in a parent’s salary
- A change in a parent’s employment
- A change in the child’s custody
- A change in the child’s needs
- A change in the child’s residence or primary care
Changes in a child’s needs may include anything from an increase in the cost of living to a child becoming ill or disabled. An agreement may also be modified if it is learned the obligor—the person required to pay child support— is not the biological parent of the child. All the above circumstances warrant a modification in child support and can come in the form of increasing or decreasing child support payments.
All changes to support agreements must be court approved and verbal agreements to change support guidelines are not valid. It is common for co-parents to orally agree on a change in the support amount, only to make themselves vulnerable to litigation if payment disputes between the two co-parents arise.
Reach out to a Child Support Attorney in Austin
Child support is invaluable for a child’s growth, and should accurately reflect the changing life circumstances of the parent and child. If you need help modifying your child support agreement or are not receiving payments from your co-parent, our family law attorneys at Kirker Davis LLP offer an array of child support services that may be able to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our Austin offices at (512) 598-0010 for a free consultation.