Things to Consider Before Filing a Suit to Modify Child Support

Child support modification is sometimes necessary when your situation calls for it. Sometimes, in a divorce and a child custody case, the outcome isn’t always what you have expected. Every situation is different and things might not always go according to what would be satisfactory and convenient for you. When this happens, as a parent, you’d want changes to be made.

For instance, if your spouse got the primary custody of your children and a new partner moves in with him or her that you think is not a good influence for your children, or they get a new job that pays double what they made before, you would naturally want some modifications where child custody and child support is concerned. It’s also possible for you to earn less than before that it’s hard for you to come up with the child support amount so you want it to be decreased. It could also be that you have the primary custody of the children and their needs underwent a massive change, financially, you might also want a child support modification.

All these are strong reasons to file a child support modification suit, but will it really be your best move?


Reasons Why You SHOULD NOT Go for a Child Support Modification

If you bring to the court a lawsuit for child support modification, your ex-spouse could counter-attack with another lawsuit. It is quite common for the other parent to retaliate in situations like this, though it does not happen 100% of the time. When it happens, they will use the lawsuit that you have filed, twisting it for their own benefit. The thing is, they don’t have anything to lose if they file another suit to counter the modification lawsuit you have filed against them. This can mean a longer court battle which would not only cost you your time but your money, effort, and peace of mind too.
When this happens, you can talk to your lawyer so he can discuss with your ex’s attorney about both parties dropping both lawsuits. A bigger problem can occur if you decide to drop your suit and your ex-spouse will go through with the ‘countersuit’.

Another reason why you should avoid filing for a child support modification suit is it can be difficult for the court to fix your case the second time. Courts only rely on facts and evidence. When you file a modification suit, you need to do it at the same court which dealt with your previous divorce and child support case. Hence, you will need to provide strong and appropriate evidence to convince the court that there are sufficient grounds to change what was in the original court decision.

The key factor here is not to dissuade you from filing a modification for a situation where there has been a legitimate change in circumstances that warrants it, but to simply consider the full costs before making a decision. The more confident that you are that you have followed all the previous court orders the less of a concern this is, but legal fees are still something to consider and often not insignficant. If someone’s income has doubled, then that is almost certainly going to be worth the cost to pursue, but smaller changes may not be. The more total income, the less the change would have to be for it to be worthwhile, but there is still the anxiety of dealing with a lawsuit to consider.


Do Not Add Fuel to the Fire

Furthermore, filing for child support modification will only cause anger to blaze between you and the opposing party. With the heightened tensions between both parents, who do you think is likely to suffer the most? Yes, it’ll be the children. If your relationship with your ex-spouse is bad enough now, it will only get worse with the child support modification and it will make communication more difficult. Because of that, co-parenting will be more stressful, whether the court grants your modification request or not.


Other Alternatives

If you want some changes to the final divorce decree or the previous decision of the court regarding child custody and support, there are also other means to achieve your goals. It is possible to get what you want by playing it nice. You can try seeking mediation especially when the issue is not a massive one. Usually, some issues that can be dealt with successfully with a mediation end up becoming a domino of lawsuits wherein everyone becomes miserable. It is better to try to talk to the other party first. If you can come up with an agreement that can work for you, you can have it legalized. If it doesn’t work for your situation, you can then try to bring it to the court as a last resort.

Also, consider whether or not its possible to use the attorney general’s office to facilitate more routine changes in child support. They have more strict requirements, but not having to pay for your own attorney is a huge benefit, and may be a good first step for many people.

There are times when child support modification and changes with the rest of your post-divorce arrangement may be necessary. We are not trying to stop you from filing a lawsuit in court when the situation really calls for it. In writing this article, we hope that you will take time to consider whether you really need to take it to court or try to talk it out first. Be aware and think of the possible consequences that may arise should you push through with taking your child support modification lawsuit to court before you make your move.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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