I recently had a case that involved an out of court child support agreement. It did not turn out well for the person paying child support so I thought I would share the rules with you.
In the State of Texas you cannot have an agreement to modify child support outside of court. It doesn’t matter if the agreement is notarized, signed in blood or written in stone, you cannot do it. The only way child support can be modified in Texas is through a court order.
What does this mean? Let me give you an example:
Danny Divorce loses his job. He was paying $500 per month in child support per the current court order. Danny gets along pretty well with his ex, Doris, so he asks if she will enter into a child support agreement to reduce the payments to $100 per month until he gets back on his feet. As expected, Danny is very concerned about his financial situation and does not have the money to pay an attorney to get a new order. Doris agrees to reduce the support in writing and delivers a copy back to Danny.
One year passes and Doris is fed up with Danny. Remember that they only get along “pretty well”. Doris is upset because she finds out that Danny bought his new wife, Daisy, a ring for their anniversary. How dare he do that when she gave him a year to “get on his feet”. Doris files a lawsuit to enforce the back child support at $500 per month. Danny pleads with the court that they had a written child support agreement to reduce his support. Result? Danny is in arrears (owes back child support) to the tune of $4,800 ($6,000 owed versus $1,200 paid). Ouch!
You cannot have an agreement to modify child support outside of Court. You have to have a new court order as only the court can modify child support.
What should Danny have done? Danny should have done his research and obtained the forms online and handled it himself.
I offer do it yourself child support modification forms at a very reasonable price and you can do it yourself, spending a few hundred dollars as opposed to thousands.
Don’t be Danny.