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There are many instances in which an individual will seek to lower child support payments, such as the loss of a job, an increase in expenses, the birth of a new child, or the fact that they have the shared child more often than the other parent. Whatever your reason for wanting to lower your child support in Dallas, Texas, you must follow the Texas Family Code and get the change approved by the court before any change in payment is made - even if you and your child's other parent come to a mutual agreement regarding the lower amount. Many individuals find it helpful to have an experienced family law attorney on their side to help come up with a reasonable child support order that will benefit all parties involved.

The Court Must Approve all Modifications to Child Support Orders

According to the Texas Family Code, Chapter 156, there are two circumstances in which a modification to child support will be granted:

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For many couples going through a divorce in Dallas, Texas, their biggest concern is their children. How are they going to react to Mom and Dad splitting up? Who is going to get them on Christmas? Will I be able to take care of them and pay all the bills on one income alone? These are normal concerns that most parents in normal circumstances have when deciding to go through with a divorce. However, there are some parents whose circumstances are not so normal - such as the truck driver who is gone all night, the older father with chronic health issues, the mother whose job requires her to be away three-quarters of the year, or the parent with a physical disability that disallows them to do activities that most parents can and should be able to do. For these parents, their concerns are a little more urgent, as they go from 'when will I get to see my kids?' to 'will I get to see my kids?'

Custody is Determined by What the Courts Feel is in the Child's Best Interests

There are several factors that a Texas judge takes into account when determining what is in the best interests of the child, and therefore, how child custody, or conservatorship, as it is commonly called in Texas, will be awarded. For instance, they will consider your child's physical and emotional needs, the ability for each parent to accommodate those needs, the stability of each parent's home, and the future plans that each parent has for his or her child. More than that, though, the courts look at each parent's work hours, age and health status, any history of drug abuse, violence, neglect or physical abuse, and lifestyle choices. Most Texas judges will not rely on one factor alone to make a final decision; they will look at all of the factors together, and make a decision based on what the combination says about each parent's ability to care for and to provide a healthy, stable environment for their child.

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In the state of Texas, modifying an existing child custody agreement can only be done under limited circumstances. According to the Texas Family Code, Chapter 156, a child custody agreement can be modified if the following occur:

  • The circumstances of the child or parent(s) have substantially changed since the original court order agreement was finalized;
  • The child is at least 12 years old and has requested a change in the agreement;
  • The custodial parent has voluntarily relinquished care and custody to the other parent.

Modification to your court ordered child custody agreement is much more complicated than simply changing the visitation schedule. You and the other parent or guardian will have to go before a judge, who will evaluate the changed circumstances and make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. In the best possible scenario, both parents will agree to a change in the child custody agreement, in which case they will present the judge with an agreed-upon signed parenting plan. In the instance that both parties cannot agree, you should seek the help of an experienced Dallas, Texas family lawyer, who will do everything possible to ensure the best outcome for you, the other parent and, most importantly, your child.

Starting the Child Custody Orders Modification Process

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Planning for and bringing home a new baby is a challenging task on its own. Adding a breakup or divorce to the equation only amplifies those challenges. If you have found yourself in the middle of a breakup, a separation, or a divorce prior to the birth of your baby, or shortly thereafter, crafting a visitation plan for a newborn can be tricky. Unfortunately, most states, including Texas, do not have set visitation or custody plans in place to help guide new parents.

Assuming both parents want to be an active part of their child's life from the beginning, hopefully, they can put aside any differences and acrimony and act in the best interest of the newborn. If not, it will be up to a court make the tough decisions related to the custody and care of the newborn. As with many states, Texas courts use the best interest of the child standard when determining custodial issues. A determination of a child's best interest includes, but is not limited to, the child's needs, the ability of the child's parents to cooperate in decision-making, the level of each parent's participation, distance between parents' residences, and any other factor the court finds relevant.

The Unique Case of Newborns

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