The cost of raising children in the United States has grown exponentially in the last 20 years. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report, “Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015,” that analyzed the annual costs associated with childcare. According to the report, a typical middle-income American family spends approximately $13,000 a year per child. This may seem like an exorbitant amount, but it makes sense when you break down a child’s daily needs. That $13,000 provides for a child’s food, shelter, clothing, childcare services, transportation needs, and health and dental costs.
That $13,000 a year is why child support payments are so important. It’s incredibly difficult for one parent to manage the cost of childcare alone, especially if their co-parent is accruing regular wages. Texas law recognizes that every child requires both financial and emotional support from both of their parents. For this reason, family law courts never accept any custody agreements or child support compromises that don’t benefit the immediate and long-term needs of a child.
A parent can face many legal penalties for violating a child support order. For example, if you’re delinquent in your child support payments, your ex can contact the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division for assistance and enforcement. If you fall behind on your payments, you may be subject to wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, lawsuits, expensive fines, and even jail time.
Of course, Texas courts are aware that life is a bumpy journey characterized by both highs and lows. While you can’t just stop paying child support payments, you can request a modification so long as you’re experiencing a significant change in your financial circumstances.
You Can’t Plan for Everything in Life
In Texas, a noncustodial parent is responsible for paying child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever happens to come first). However, the financial circumstances of a parent and the basic needs of a child tend to naturally change with time.
Fortunately, Texas law does permit child support modifications under Texas Family Code – FAM § 156.401. In fact, it isn’t just paying spouses who can request a modification. If the paying spouse gets a promotion or a new job that provides an increase in income, the custodial parent can go back to court to ask for an increase in child support. If you’re a paying or receiving spouse, it’s important to proactively seek legal representation if you’re interested in requesting a child support modification.
Parents can request a modification under the following circumstances:
- One parent loses their job
- One parent is facing extreme medical hardships
- One parent’s financial situation has significantly changed
- The child’s financial or medical needs have changed
- They paying parent has other children that require financial support
- The custody agreement isn’t being upheld by one parent
- The paying parent is in jail or prison
During your hearing, the judge will review your economic circumstances and weigh them against the needs of your child. Remember, the court will never take any action that doesn’t serve your child’s best interests, especially when it comes to child support. If you’ve recently lost your job, it’s imperative that you request a child support modification before you start a new career. Even if you receive a significant pay cut, the court may not be willing to modify your monthly payments. There are also other factors that come into play, so it’s imperative that you retain the services of an experienced family lawyer who can effectively negotiate and litigate on your behalf.
Discuss Your Legal Options with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you require a post-divorce modification, contact Camille Borg Law PLLC. You can rely on our attorney to guide you through each phase of this complicated legal process. With Camille R. Borg on your side, you can confidently pursue a child support order that addresses your child’s needs while accounting for your present circumstances. During your consultation, our compassionate lawyer can listen to your story, clarify your legal options, and start developing a case strategy that reinforces your need for a modification.
Contact Camille Borg Law PLLC at (469) 646-7763 to schedule a consultation.