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To get a change in the amount of support you pay, you must obtain an order from the judge or child upport master. It is best to get a lawyer, if you can afford one, to handle your attempt to change the amount of child support you pay.

In Texas, the parties may agree to change the amount of child support that is being paid. If the child?s mother receives welfare benefits, the child support attorney will also have to agree to any amount that differs from the child support guidelines. It may be difficult to get a child support attorney to agree to this. In addition, the court must agree to the change. If the court does not think the change is in the best interest of the child, the court will not approve the agreement. At a hearing, the child support master or judge may modify the amount of child support you pay in two situations:

  • if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects your ability to pay child support, or
  • if it has been three years since the child support order was created or modified and the amount you pay differs by 20 percent or $100 from the amount you would pay based on your current income according to the child support guidelines.

The child support master or judge cannot reduce the amount you already owe. Many non-custodial fathers believe that if they get behind at a time when they are legitimately unable to make a payment, what they owe can later be reduced or discounted by the court when an explanation is given. However, if you wait to explain your changed circumstances, the court will be unable to reduce the back payments you owe. So it is very important that you notify the court immediately, provide proof of the reduction in income, and ask that your payments be reduced accordingly. If you do this, the court may temporarily or permanently reduce the amount of future payments.

From the Texas Q and A Handbook for Non-Custodial Parents, Office of John Cornyn, Texas Attorney General

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