If I have a court order saying that my ex should be paying $230 a month in child support, can he have that modified since he’s now unemployed?

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2012

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If I have a court order saying that my ex should be paying $230 a month in child support, can he have that modified since he’s now unemployed?

He hasn’t paid in a year and owes $2000 in back pay. I received a letter that a motion had been filed to modify child support. He is unemployed and has been for 2 years. Will they lower the child support?

Asked on October 13, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is possible that the order may be modified: courts can and do change support obligations if the person paying can demonstrate that due to some life change beyond his or her control, he or she cannot meet the obligation anymore. Being unemployed two years may well be enough to justify such a change, if your ex-spouse can demonstrate that he has been trying to find work, but cannot due to changes in the economy or job market, which, given the circumstances, is certainly plausible.

Look at it this way: it does you no good to have an order for support which he simply cannot pay; all the court orders in the world cannot make him have money if he doesn't have any. If his situation is legitimate, you don't really lose anything from a modifcation of his support to something he can in fact pay. If his income goes up, you in turn can later look to have a higher level of support reinstated.

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