April 24, 2014

Verbal Agreements to Modify A Child Support Order

Informally modifying a child support order is a mistake often made by the payor (the person paying child support) of a child support order.   The associated costs of modifying a child support order through the courts are often a deterrent to seeking a formal modification for those who are not familiar with the pitfalls of such an endeavor. 

Every person obligated to pay child support must be aware that a child support order remains in full force and effect until it is modified by a new child support order.  A court will modify a child support order upon a finding of a material change in circumstances that warrant a change in support.  If the parties agree to a change in the child support amount the Court is likely to affirm the agreement but, without a finding of a material change in circumstances, is not obligated to.

Verbal agreements are especially dangerous in this regard.  Parties to a child support order are not encouraged to verbally agree on modifications of child support.  Even in the face of a verbal agreement, the payee (the person receiving the child support payments) has the right to enforce the existing court order and can do so by way of a petition requesting that the payor be held in contempt of court and pay interest for any underpayment.   A written agreement can provide some additional protection, however, unless and until the payor petitions the court for a modification of the child support order itself, the child support obligation continues. 

The advisable method for affirming an agreement to modify a child support order is to petition the court that entered the previous child support order for a modification based on the new agreement.  The court has the authority to order the modification be retroactive to the date of filing.  If the payee is unwilling to memorialize the agreement with a new child support order it presents a risk to the payor of being hauled into court in the future for non-payment of the existing child support order.

© 2014 Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.

About the Author

Kristina  A. Cruz, Family Law Attorney, Odin Feldman Law Firm

Kristina Cruz believes the best approach to assist her clients is to blend her legal knowledge with each individual client's unique personal objectives to ensure that every relationship is built upon a foundation of mutual trust and client input into the legal process. A background in journalism combined with powerful listening skills enable Kristina to understand the full extent of a family or domestic relation situation and communicate those matters succinctly and effectively in the courtroom. Clearly comprehending all aspects of each individual case gives Kristina the ability to...


Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.