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When Should I Modify My Child Support Order in North Carolina?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Nov 01, 2018 | 0 Comments

Typically, when a divorcing couple in North Carolina has children, the court orders the non-custodial parent to pay ongoing child support. Initially, the court determines the amount based on the number of children, the custody arrangement, and the gross income of each parent. However, circumstances and children's needs change over time, and your child support obligation may need to be increased or decreased before your youngest child turns 18 and graduates from high school.

Reasons to Request a Modification in Child Support in Raleigh, NC

North Carolina law provides specific reasons that a parent may file to amend his or her child support obligation. Keep in mind that you cannot stop making child support payments until ordered by the court.

Below are listed reasons you may ask the court to review your child support order for appropriate adjustments.

Three Years Since Last Order

North Carolina Child Support Services notifies parents every three years that they have the right to request a child support review. If you believe that a review would increase or decrease your child support by 15 percent or more, requesting a review is appropriate.

Sudden Involuntary Loss of Income

If you lose your job or have a significant involuntary decrease in work hours, you can ask the court to reduce your child support payments. Reducing your income by choice, such as taking a lower paying job, does not decrease your child support obligation. Also, a significant increase in the custodial parent's income will not be reason to decrease your obligation.

Child's Needs Change

This may increase or decrease your child support obligation depending on the exact need. If your child needs extra medical care or has special educational needs, your child support obligation may increase. If your child no longer attends daycare, your obligation may decrease.

When your child turns 18 and has graduated from high school, you need to petition the court to remove that child from the child support order. If you have more than one child, having the 18-year-old removed will not cut your child support in half. The State's calculations include fixed household costs such as housing and transportation, so most see a 30 percent decrease when one child ages out. When all your children have reached age 18 and have graduated from high school, you may file a motion to terminate child support altogether.

There is an exception to the 18 years old rule: if your child is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself when he reaches age 18, the court may order you to continue paying child support.

Custody Change

A custody change qualifies as a significant change in the child's circumstances. This may increase or decrease your child support obligation based on the new custody order. If you were previously the non-custodial parent and your child now resides with you, the other parent may be ordered to pay child support to you, depending on the circumstances.

Experienced, Resourceful Child Support Lawyers in Raleigh, NC

If you need to amend your North Carolina child support order, visit our dedicated Child Support page and contact Jerkins Family Law immediately. Our dedicated attorneys use their knowledge of North Carolina child support laws to protect your parenting rights and your finances. Child support issues can be complicated, so we act quickly to ensure that the court determines a fair child support amount. Contact Jerkins Family Law today.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.

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