When a child support amount is set in the final divorce settlement, it is not set in stone. In North Carolina, the courts determine the child support amount based on the combined gross income of both parents. Yet, as years go on, life situations occur that may alter your gross income or other circumstances surrounding your ability to receive or pay child support.
Child support modification is an option for those who struggle to make their monthly child support payments or parents who wish to have a co-parent’s financial situation reviewed. It is helpful to understand how the modification process works in North Carolina before you get started.
When is it time for a change?
Not everyone is eligible to apply for a modification on their court-ordered child support. According to North Carolina courts, most child support modification applications must fit one of the following situations:
- There is at least a 15% difference between the current child support amount and the proposed change
- It has been at least three years since you have applied for a child support modification
- There is a significant change in circumstances resulting in a change in income for either party.
A significant change in circumstances may occur if one party loses their job, changes careers, becomes incarcerated or moves away. This could result in a change in days spent with the parent, which would also change the child support amount. Furthermore, additional child health expenses could result in a modification as well.
What should you keep in mind?
If you and your former spouse agree on the modification, you can file the form with the courts. If an agreement is not made, you can file the application on your own. However, it is important to understand that the courts make all adjustments based on the best interests of the child.