With rising rents and inflation still striking at the grocery store, many North Carolina residents are having a hard time financially. But, what if you owe child support for one or more children, and you suffer a hardship, like job loss, or the loss of an income asset, like rental income?
If your income substantially changes, can you request a change in your initial child support order to lower the amount of monthly child support you owe?
Child support modifications
In our state, yes, you may ask the courts to modify your initial child support order. A child support modification can be requested if you have had the order for more than three years, lost your job or if your income change results in a 15% change or more from the initial order.
You have to make the request on an official form titled “Motion and Notice of Hearing for Modification of Child Support Order.” The form states the evidence required to support your claim at a hearing.
Modifications can also be made if you receive child support and the spouse making payments has an increase in income. A modification can also be made if you are a parent who finds out that you are not the paternal father, but you must do so within a year of finding out.
How can I calculate how my new income might impact child support?
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services provides information on how the family courts calculate Charlotte, North Carolina, child support and even provides worksheets. For example, calculations differ based on the custody arrangement, like primary, split and joint custody.
You can input the details of your income and your former spouse’s income to get a rough idea about how a child support order might change from your initial judgement. Keep in mind that the motion serves as a request to the courts, and the court has discretion to grant or deny the motion.
Can I file myself?
You can represent yourself at a hearing to request a child support modification, but you must present your evidence in a manner consistent with what the courts seek. As such, courts often advise that litigants at least consult a lawyer during the process or before requesting a child support modification.