My Ex Claims She Didn’t Ask to Change My Child Support Payments – Is that true?

Sometimes, yes. There are three ways child support modification can begin:

  1. both parents agree to the modification and submit a new order to the Attorney General’s (AG) office;
  2. one parent petitions the Attorney General for modification; or
  3. the Attorney General’s office on its own seeks modification of an existing child support amount.

Child Support Review Process

The Attorney General’s Office operates a “Child Support Review Process” (CSRP).  The CRSP is a way to modify support payments without the hassle of going to court.  The CSRP is used for all three types of modification listed above.   However, what many people do not realize is that the Attorney General’s office reviews specific cases on their own every three years.  Every third year, the AG’s office checks the income of the parent obligated to pay support.  To check an individual’s income, the AG’s office simply looks at the Texas Workforce Commission (another state agency).  If there has been a significant change in the non-custodial parent’s salary (i.e. a more lucrative job or loss of a job), then the AG’s office will file a motion to modify.  The modified amount is determined by certain formula guidelines coupled with an amount of the AG’s discretion.   If, when looking at the Texas Workforce Commission the AG does not see a significant change in circumstances, then the existing amount will continue and the file flagged for review in another three years.

Practically, the AG’s office is more diligent about pursuing modifications on their own when the child in question is participating in Medicaid.

Child support payments may be increased or decreased, but any change requires a court order.  Verbal agreements between parents will not hold any legal, binding effect.  The CSRP allows parents the opportunity to have the AG’s office take care of “going to court.”  While either parent can ask for a modification of child support, the typical situation involves the custodial parent seeking to increase the amount paid by the non-custodial parent. Sometimes however, a non-custodial parent asks to decrease the amount payable, typically as a result of a lost job, the birth of a new child, or drastic declines in available income.   Of course, the non-custodial parent can always move to increase the amount they are paying towards their child.

Child support amounts should be reviewed regularly, as parental circumstances are ever-changing. The three-year review by the AG’s office helps facilitate more accurate modifications and helps ensure our kids are being taken care of.