Following or Modifying a Child Support Order

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After a child support order is finalized:

  • Both parents must comply with the court’s order. This means that the person ordered to pay child support must pay child support and the person with primary custody must allow any visitation that is ordered.
  • Note: The noncustodial parent cannot be penalized for failing to appear for visitation times; but the custodial parent can be penalized for denying access to the noncustodial parent during their visitation time. If you have concerns or questions about visitation or access, call (1-866-292-4636) the Access and Visitation Hotline (weekdays between 1PM - 7PM) or visit the hotline's website.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your hearing, you have the following options:

  • A request for a “de novo hearing” must be filed with the district court no later than the third working day after the court order is signed. A de novo hearing will happen at the district court, with a different judge than the judge who heard your case initially. To file for this hearing, you must submit letters in writing within 3 days to the court, the OAG and to the other parent.
  • If you miss the deadline for filing a de novo appeal, you can file a Motion for New Trial with the same court that heard your case initially. This must be done within 30 days after your court order is signed. To file for this hearing, you must submit letters in writing within 30 days to the court, the OAG and to the other parent.
  • If you feel like you were denied full access to the court, there is recourse you can take.

Modifications to your child support order:

  • Changes can be made to the child support or medical support terms of your court order if there have been substantial changes in circumstances. You can request that the OAG review your case for modification of child support and/or medical support, but that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily file a modification.
  • Generally, substantial changes in circumstances means that the monthly child support amount would change by either 20 percent or $100.
  • The OAG cannot modify or enforce visitation orders. If the visitation provisions of your child support order prove to be unworkable, or circumstances surrounding the order have changed, you can file a suit to modify your order.
  • To change the visitation or custody arrangements in an order usually requires that you find an attorney. If your case involves family violence, it is important that you find an attorney who is knowledgeable about family law and family violence. You can contact the Texas Advocacy Project's Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-HOPE (4673), or www.texaslawhelp.org for information about legal aid in your area.
  • Texaslawhelp.org has more information on changing your visitation order. **It may help to keep a record of parental misconduct (the other parent is violating the order, if the other parent constantly skips or is late to visitation time, or if the other parent uses the visitation time and exchange of children to harass you.

**Note: Obtaining a protective order from the other parent of your child does not, necessarily, modify any existing court orders that may exist between you and the other parent. If you apply for a protective order from the other parent, inform your attorney/the court that there is an existing order. If you have any concerns or questions about this, talk to your attorney, or contact Texas Advocacy Project’s Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-HOPE (4673).