Child support is the ongoing payment made by one parent following the end of a marriage or relationship that helps provide for a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. Child support payments are made by the non-custodial parent (called the obligor), while the custodial parent receives the support and can use the money at their discretion.  

In Texas, child support payments are typically calculated using a percentage model. For one child, the child support payment is usually 20 percent of the obligor’s net monthly income. For each additional child, another 5 percent is added. For example, an obligor with three children would pay 30 percent of their net monthly income. 

In most cases, this percentage model works well to help cover a child’s basic needs. However, if you are a parent who is receiving child support, there may be some instances in which you want or need to request more support. This is known as a child support modification. In general, child support payment orders can be modified every three years, but there are certain circumstances in which they can be changed outside of that timeframe. 

Three situations in which you may have grounds for requesting more child support are: 

  • Your child meets special medical, educational or psychological requirements.
  • You have experienced a change in medical insurance or living arrangements. 
  • The other (non-custodial) parent has experienced a significant increase in income.

In other words, if your child has new or increased medical or educational bills or if your co-parent has come into a lot of money, you can request a child support adjustment. 

Child support payments can be modified through the court or out of court through the Texas Child Support Review Process (CSRP). In order to go through the CSRP, you and the other party will have to agree about how to change the original court order. Informal agreements between you and the other parent will not change the child support payment. This must be done through obtaining a new court order. 

Either party can submit a request for the court to modify child support. From there, the court will reach out to both parties within 30 days, and begin verifying information like income, health insurance, and addresses. A child support specialist will eventually conduct a review. If they agree that the child support order should be changed, a court date will be scheduled and the matter will be settled there. If not, you can contest the decision. 

Navigating the world of child support and child custody is complicated. It’s important to speak with an attorney about options whether you are the parent paying or the parent receiving child support. 

At Sandoval Law Firm we understand the stress of dealing with divorce, child custody and domestic violence. Our firm consists of founding attorney Raul Sandoval Jr. and a dedicated support staff. Mr. Sandoval earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. Since that time, he has been practicing family law in the Austin area, as well as teaching seminars, classes and other forms of professional development.