You currently have a child support order that has been in place for a while. Unfortunately, you feel it is no longer working for you. The good news is, in North Carolina, you may seek to modify the support order.
The courts don’t just modify these orders for anyone and for any reason. To ensure children have the financial support needed to have their basic needs met, certain circumstances must apply in your case to have the order adjusted. Currently, there are three reasons why you may seek a support modification.
Reason number one: Paternity questioned
If an order of support is in place, but you find out that you are not the biological father, you may request to cancel the order. You have one year to file a motion to cancel the order from when you find out you aren’t the biological parent. The Motion for Relief form is online, or legal counsel can help you file the appropriate petition when you’re ready to do so.
Reason number two: Time
According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch child support page, one may adjust a child support order up to three years after activation of the initial order. Why three years? There are a number of reasons for this, but overall, it gives the family time to get used to the payment and see how well it works for everyone.
Reason number three: A change in circumstances
Finally, the third and most common reason for support modification is that the payor or payee has experienced a change in circumstances. A change in circumstances simply means an adjustment to income level. Generally, the income adjustment has to be a gain or loss of 15%.
For example, if the payor experiences a loss of income either from job loss, change of employment or demotion, he or she may have his or her support obligation lowered. If the payor experiences an increase in income, the payee may request to increase the support amount.
Think you qualify?
If you think your support order qualifies for a modification, the sooner you take action, the better. If you are confused about how to go about seeking a support adjustment, the good news is that you do not have to petition the court on your own. You may seek assistance with filling out the proper forms and presenting your case in family court.