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When can child support be modified?

As a parent, your first priority is taking care of your children. However, circumstances can change. Perhaps your child wants to move in with you, or you were laid off. Different situations create a need to re-examine child support payments. Here are the reasons you can request a child support modification in North Carolina.

It has been three years

If it has been three years since you set up child support payments, you can petition the court for a child support modification. Based on your income, if your payment amount would change by 15 percent or more, your support payment can be modified. However, you must prove your gross income has changed.

Change in child’s needs

Your child may have a significant change in his or her needs. Perhaps your child is going to a new school that costs more, or he or she was diagnosed with a serious health condition. These needs could necessitate an increase in your support payment. The opposite could be true as well. Maybe your child is no longer in daycare, so you no longer need to pay extra money for this. You can request a reduction in your child support payment.

Your income has changed

Job changes happen frequently, and not all changes are good. Perhaps you were laid off, or your hours were cut back. If your income has substantially decreased, you may be able to get your child support payment lowered. However, if you voluntarily took a pay cut, you likely are not eligible for a modification.

Your child moves in with you

If you are the parent paying support and your child decides to move in with you, you can seek a modification. Since the payment was calculated with the other parent as the primary caregiver, having the child live with you represents a significant change to your circumstances. The court will likely reduce your support payment.

Your child ages out

If you and your ex share multiple children, you can request a modification to your support obligation if one of your children turns 18. You only pay support for children under the age of 18, and child support payments are increased per child. When a child turns 18, you have just cause to request a child support modification.

To apply for a child support modification in North Carolina, you must file a form and appear in court. Though this may seem straightforward, that is not always the case. If your ex opposes the change to the support payment, he or she may hire an attorney to oppose you. Also, you may have to convince the court your change is circumstances is significant. If there is any conflict regarding the modification of child support, you may want to hire an attorney to represent your interests.

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