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Child Support Modification

Changes to child support modification suits. Commencing September 2018, the legislature changed the conditions for modifying a child support order. Under the previous scheme, a court could modify a child support agreement which deviated from the statutory guidelines set forth in the Texas Family Code, for any one of three reasons:

Reason #1: There has been a “material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order” since the rendition of the original order.

Reason #2: The parents of the child have reached a mediated or collaborative law settlement which does not following the guidelines.

Reason #3: Within three years of the original order being rendered or last modified, the monthly child support payments deviate either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would have been awarded under Code’s guidelines.

However, commencing September 1, 2018, the courts are now only be able to modify child support orders, even if agreed to, if “the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order materially and substantially changed.” This means that if proposed child support payments differ from Texas Family Code guidelines, then custodial parents will no longer be able to agree to an increase or decrease in child support payments without also showing that the circumstances of the child or a parent have “materially and substantially changed.”