Modifying temporary orders when dealing with unemployment

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

My ex is requesting an increase in the amount of child support I pay even though I am currently unemployed.

Can I file temporary orders to modify child support until we have to go back to court?


In Texas, in a suit affecting the parent child relationship (SAPCR), the family code provides a nonexclusive list of temporary orders that can be issued for a child’s safety and welfare during trial or pending an appeal. The Petitioner can ask the court to issue a temporary order for child support. Tex. Fam. Code. Sec. 105.001(a)(2).

If you are the Respondent, meaning you are the one being sued, than you will need to file a Counterpetition asking the court to modify your current child support payment amount. In Texas, there are two grounds upon which a support order can be modified: 1) a material and substantial change in circumstances, and 2) deviation from statutory guidelines.

Applicable here is a material and substantial change in circumstances. The court may modify a support order if the circumstances of the child or an affected party have materially and substantially changed. Tex. Fam Code Sec. 156.401.

An increase or decrease in a parent’s financial ability to support a child may be a material and substantial change in circumstances. However, the parent must present evidence of their financial circumstances at the time the earlier child support order was rendered and at the hearing for the modification.

A parent’s decrease in salary may be considered a material and substantial change in circumstances unless the decrease in salary is a result of underemployment.

For more information please contact a Texas family law attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.


Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.  

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