Divorce can mark a significant change in a person’s life. After divorce, however, life does of course continue to change. Can post-divorce life changes impact issues that were decided on during divorce proceedings? In certain instances, yes, they can. It will greatly depend, however, on what divorce issue you are referring to as well as what life changes would possibly merit reevaluating a previously resolved issue. Most commonly, people want to know when it might be possible to modify child support or alimony. For instance, if you go on to have more children after divorce, can you go back to court and petition for previously ordered child support payments to be modified? We will discuss the answer to this question in more detail here.
Can a Payor Spouse Modify Child Support Payments after Having More Children?
First and foremost, it is important to note that child support arrearages will never go away. You cannot go back and have outstanding child support payments reduced or cleared. Your back-owed child support will grow with interest and cannot be reduced. You may, however, petition the court to modify child support payments going forward.
To be eligible for child support modification, however, the State of Texas requires that one or more of the following be true:
- The child support order was established or last modified over three years ago;
- The monthly child support order amount varies either 20% or $100 from the amount designated according to child support guidelines; or
- There has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the child support order was last established.
A substantial change of circumstance may include something like an increase or decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income. It may also include the noncustodial parent being legally responsible for additional children. You must, however, live with the child and the mother and provide financial support to the new child. A new child will not, in and of itself, mean you will be able to successfully seek a modification of child support. You must be legally obligated to support the new child and be actually doing so. The new child will be added to a place on the child support worksheet.
To request a review of your child support case, you should submit an official Request for Review of the previous court-ordered amount. The timeframe necessary to be granted a hearing for modification of child support payments can vary and the Attorney General’s office may need time to gather additional information from a parent or other resources prior to completing its final review. The Attorney General’s office will coordinate with both parents in order to schedule a Child Support Review Process. Both parents have to agree to a newly calculated child support award and any other changes in payment that need to be addressed. If an agreement is out of reach, then the modification request will be deferred to the court to decide.
Family Law Attorneys
Do you have questions about child support after a divorce or during divorce proceedings? Talk to the knowledgeable attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residents of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.