When you and your spouse filed for divorce, like all North Carolina parents, you continued to want what is best for your children. You also understood that your decision to go separate ways as spouses would have both immediate and far-reaching implications in your children’s lives. Child custody and child support may have been two priority issues as proceedings got underway.
Several months or even, years might have passed since you filed your initial petition for divorce. As part of your settlement, the court may have ordered you or your ex to pay child support. While both parents must adhere to an existing court order, issues may arise in life that compels a parent to request a modification of a child support order.
A parent making a child support modification request must demonstrate need
If you have been paying child support after signing a custody agreement, you can’t simply stop making payments or lower the amount you send in, without first obtaining the court’s approval. The following list includes three issues that the court might consider legitimate causes for modifying a child support order:
- You have lost your job or incurred a reduction in income.
- You have remarried and are financially responsible for step-children or a newborn in your household.
- A special need that a child had, no longer exists.
Regarding the last issue on the list, an example might be if your child support payments were set to include extensive dental work that a child needed. If the need no longer exists, the judge overseeing your case might consider it just cause to lower your payments.
If you are non- paying parent making a modification request
As a custodial parent, you might also determine a need to request a modification of a child support order. For instance, if your child is going to transition from public school to a private school, his or her financial needs might increase due to tuition and other expenses. If your ex gets a pay raise and you lose your job, this might also be a legitimate reason for asking the court to modify your existing child support agreement.
The court keeps children’s needs in mind when making any decisions regarding child custody or child support. The court also understands that life is often full of unexpected changes, and an arrangement that was once adequate may no longer be sufficient to accommodate a child’s financial needs in a particular set of circumstances. A judge can review a petition and grant (or deny) modifications at the court’s discretion.