Things change. A child support agreement for a four and six-year-old might not be right for the same kids as they turn fourteen and sixteen - hello cell phone bill and braces! Kidding aside, the needs of a child might change as they get older. Parents might lose, or better yet get a better paying job. These life changes might mean you need a child support modification. Child support is ordinarily paid until the later to occur of the child reaching 18-years of age or the child's graduation from high school. A lot can change in 18 years so child support modifications are a common part of the ongoing effects of a divorce. What are Some Reasons to Modify a Child Support Order? Per Section 156.401 of the Texas Family Code the court may modify an order providing for the support of a child, including an order for health care coverage, if the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of either the date of the order's rendition or the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement. The court may also modify the support if it has been three years or longer since the order was established or modified and the monthly amount of the child support ordered differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded per child support guidelines. So, what exactly is a material and substantial change in circumstance? Usually, this results when the noncustodial parent's income has increased (as a result of a better job or a raise) or decreased (lost job). It can also occur when the noncustodial parent is now legally responsible for more kids in addition to the ones the child support order was created for. This often happens in a second marriage or if the children's medical insurance rates or living arrangements have changed. How Do Child Support Modifications Work? All child support modifications must go through the court system. There are probably many other things you'd rather do (organizing the garage, hosting a bake sale) than returning to court. It is frequently time-consuming and can dredge up uncomfortable feelings from the past divorce. But it is essential to go through the legal process if you ever want to enforce your right to collect or pay the money on the terms you have agreed to. No matter how well you co-parent right now, a "you have my word" agreement just doesn't hold up for child support modifications. You must modify the agreement properly in the legal system. It is important to consult with a competent family law attorney to help you with this process. As you can see, there are a variety of reasons people seek a child support modification. It can be an important part of keeping your family healthy and happy. Our board-certified family law lawyer at Puhl Law PPC can help you get the proper child support modification you need to help your family thrive."