Lump-sum payment of child support can still be modified in the future

Occasionally I have parents who have the ability to pay the child support obligation in advance in a lump-sum payment. I always admonish the client very carefully who wishes to do this because any orders regarding a child, including an agreement to accept future child support payments in lump-sum fashion, remain modifiable in the future until the child turns 18. The Houston 1st court of appeals recently decided a case that illustrates this point.

There, Father agreed upon the birth of child 1 to pay a lump sum amount of child support. Mother agreed to this arrangement and the trial court approved. However, a few years later, a second child was born to the parties and mother sought to modify the child support arrangement. The trial court ordered husband to pay monthly child support over and above the lump-sum payment previously made. The court of appeals held that since the circumstances of the parties had materially and substantially changed since the entry of the prior order, modification was permissible and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in entering a new child support order.

Luckman v. Zamora, 01-13-00001-CV, 2014 WL 554630 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no pet. h.) (mem. op.) (2/11/14).

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