A trial court may modify a Texas child support order if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the rendition of the prior order. The party seeking the modification has the burden of establishing the change in circumstances. The court may also modify an order if it has been at least three years since the prior order was rendered or modified and the order varies by 20% or $100 from the guidelines. Tex. Fam. Code § 156.401(a). As with many issues involving child custody or support, the court’s primary consideration should be the child’s best interest. A father recently appealed a court’s denial of his request to modify his child support obligation due to a change in income.
Petition for Modification
According to the appeals court, the father’s monthly child support obligation under a 2015 agreed order in a modification suit was $1,231.78 and his monthly medical support obligation was $105. There were no findings as to the father’s net resources or any indication in the order that the child support was based on the guidelines.
The father petitioned for modification in October 2021, alleging a material and substantial change in his circumstances based on his income. He requested a decrease in his child support obligation. The mother argued that the previous modification agreement had not been based on the child support guidelines. She further argued that a change in the father’s income did not constitute a material and substantial change in circumstances because there was no indication the parties had relied on the father’s income in setting the child support obligation in the agreed order.