Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”
If your former spouse pays you child support, you need that money to raise your shared children and pay for their needs. However, if the other parent is seeking a child support modification, it might feel unfair because the funds provided in those monthly payments barely even cover the essentials like food and clothing.
If this feels like your situation, contact our Charlotte child support attorney to discuss how to fight against a child support modification in your case.
When a Child Support Modification is Appropriate
There are situations when there is nothing you can do to prevent your ex-spouse from modifying the existing child support order. North Carolina family law provides specific guidelines for when a child support modification is appropriate.
If the other spouse’s financial situation has changed drastically since the child support order was established or it has been at least three years since child support was ordered, he or she may file a petition for a modification.
Unless three years have passed, the court may approve the other parent’s modification petition if there is evidence of any of the following:
- The obligor – the parent paying child support – non-voluntarily lost his or her job or received a significant pay cut.
- The obligor’s expenses have increased significantly as a result of a major event (e.g., a car accident requiring long-term medical costs).
- The children’s circumstances have changed, or needs have increased/decreased.
As a rule of thumb, North Carolina judges consider at least a 15% change in the court-ordered child support calculation to approve the modification. If this was the case, the judge would most likely approve the modification petition.
How You can Fight a Child Support Modification in North Carolina
However, there are also situations when you have a right to fight against a child support modification by arguing that modifying the existing order would be inappropriate.
After your former spouse files a petition to modify child support, the court will hold a hearing to consider whether a modification is appropriate or not. During the hearing, you need a knowledgeable child support lawyer to present your arguments in the most convincing manner.
The following circumstances do not warrant a child support modification in North Carolina:
- A voluntary decrease in the obligor’s income
- A voluntary loss of a job
- The argument that the children are growing up
- A voluntary bankruptcy filing
- The obligor’s support payments for another child unless there is a child support order for that child
Why You Need a Charlotte Child Support Attorney
If you believe that the other parent’s petition is inappropriate, you will have to fight against the child support modification with the help of a Charlotte child support attorney. After all, the success of the petition depends on your ability to persuade the judge that reducing the amount of child support is not in your child’s best interest.
It is possible to fight against a child support modification, but doing so may not be easy without a lawyer who has the required legal experience to aggressively advocate for your children’s best interests. Contact our Charlotte-based child support lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss your strategy. Call at 704-370-2828 for a confidential consultation. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys, speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or at our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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