North Carolina Modification of Child Support Laws

By Heather Frances J.D.

When North Carolina courts enter divorce decrees, they address topics such as child custody, child support and property division. Courts can sometimes modify the terms of a divorce when circumstances change after the divorce is finalized. Typically, courts can modify court-ordered child support when one parent can show that circumstances have changed.

Initiating Modification

In North Carolina, parents can seek a modification by filing a motion with the court, typically the court that issued the original child support order. Parents can also apply for services with North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Support Services and request a review from the caseworker. In cases where a parent receives public assistance, CSS will review the case at least every three years even when neither parent requests review. Other cases are reviewed after three years only if a parent requests review.

Modification Standard

The parent seeking the modification needs evidence to prove a modification is justified. The amount of evidence depends on whether the child support order originated as part of a marital settlement agreement or a court-ordered decree. If a child support order was part of a marital settlement agreement, the court has authority to change it merely if the child’s needs require a change. But if the support order originated with the court, there must be a substantial change in circumstances before the court will consider modification.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Changed Circumstances

North Carolina law presumes a family’s circumstances have changed substantially if it is at least three years after the most recent child support order and an application of the child support guidelines would result in a change of at least 15 percent. If a case does not meet this standard, a parent can still seek modification if he can prove to the court that circumstances have changed substantially. For example, if a paying parent receives a large pay increase shortly after the child support order was issued, the other spouse may be able to request a modification before three years have passed.

Retroactive Change

Child support amounts only change once the court enters a new order. Unless the court’s order is the first order entered for a particular child, the court cannot adjust child support retroactively. Thus, if a court changes the child support amount a parent pays, the change is only effective going forward.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Often Can You Check an Ex-Spouse's Income for Child Support in North Carolina?
 

References

Related articles

Does Child Support Stop in New York When You Get Re-Married?

When you divorce, a New York court likely will order child support as part of your divorce decree. The amount awarded is a percentage of your and your spouse's combined income, based on the number of children who need support. Unlike alimony or custody, child support is not likely to change if you remarry unless your income changes.

How a Non-Custodial Parent Can Reduce Child Support Payments

Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, and may be paid either directly, through wage deductions or through a state agency. Support is considered a right of the child and child support awards aren't arbitrary. The federal government requires that each state use child support formulas that take into account parental income, the child's needs and other factors. Thus you can't reduce your payments just because you feel they're unfair or don't want to give money to your ex. However, if you can demonstrate a valid reason for a payment reduction, such as reduced income, you might be able to get payments reduced.

Texas Child Support Questions

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to the parent with primary custody of the children after the parents divorce or separate. The Texas Family Code outlines how child support is calculated, when an order can be modified and when the support order terminates. The law also sets forth the procedures for enforcing a support order that goes unpaid.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Can You Change Your Divorce Five Years Later in New York?

Whether you have been divorced for five years or five months, you may ask the courts in New York to modify your divorce ...

How Often Can a Person File for an Increase in Child Support After the Divorce Is Final?

Generally, a judge orders child support payments in your divorce decree based on your family’s situation at the time of ...

What Constitutes Substantial Change for Someone Modifying Child Support in Florida?

Florida courts are aware that when parents part ways, their life circumstances may change. Children grow, lifestyles ...

Can a Court Order Change Child Support in CT?

When Connecticut courts award child support as part of a divorce, they use the couple’s financial situation at the time ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED