When to seek changes to a child support order in North Carolina

Generally speaking, child support modification requests are only granted if there is a change in a parent’s income. In some cases, they will also be granted if a North Carolina custodial parent needs extra financial help to provide for a child’s medical or educational needs. It is important to note that a court may require a parent to wait several months after an order is issued before it may be modified.

Noncustodial parents should generally seek to modify an existing order if their income has gone down significantly because of a job loss or change in hours. A court will likely review a noncustodial parent’s financial information before deciding whether to reduce the monthly payment. A judge may decline to modify an order if there isn’t enough evidence that an individual’s income has drastically declined.

Custodial parents are encouraged to refrain from pursuing changes to an existing order unless the cost of raising their children has gone up significantly. It may also be a good idea to seek changes to an existing order if it can be proven that the other parent’s income has increased dramatically since the order went into effect. Generally speaking, planned annual raises are typically not considered drastic enough to change the terms of a child support order.

Parents who have questions or concerns about making or receiving child support payments may want to speak with an attorney. An attorney may help a parent modify an existing order or take steps to obtain a past due balance. It is important to note that a past due balance cannot be reduced or waived even if an order is modified. Those who fail to pay what they owe may face jail time, the loss of a drivers license or other negative consequences.

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