Marriages break down every single day. This is an unfortunate fact, but it’s true. Much of the time, a separation of a union is merely the logical conclusion of a relationship that is no longer working.
When children are involved, the process of divorce often becomes more complicated. More factors must be taken into account. Terms—such as custody and child support—must be agreed upon.
When a judge does make these decisions, that doesn’t mean they will always remain that way. Your ex-partner may attempt to lower child support payments over time. Read on to learn how to fight child support decrease today.
When Is Lower Child Support Granted?
In North Carolina, modifications to custody or child support orders can only be granted by a judge or agreement of the parties, and only in specific sets of circumstances. If your spouse is attempting to lower their child support payments, the first thing you need to check is whether they have gone through the proper channels to do so. They will need to fill out a form and request a hearing for both of you to appear before a judge in order to obtain a valid child support modification.
A child support payment may be lowered in two situations. The first is if the current levels have been in place for more than three years and there is a difference of 15% or more between the amount under the court order and the amount calculated under the NC Child Support Guidelines based on parents’ current incomes and circumstances. The second is if there has been a substantial change to the circumstances of either party or the needs of the child.
However, just because their circumstances have changed, this doesn’t mean that they will be automatically granted a modification order. Unless they have a valid decision from a judge on this matter, you are not obliged to accept lower child support.
Also, the modification decision will not be retroactive. It is only valid from the time a motion of modification was filed. This is something else to keep in mind.
How to Fight Child Support Decrease
If they have filed the necessary documentation to request a modification of their child support to which you do not agree, you will have to fight this request in court. In this case, it is a good idea to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will be able to go over what your next steps are as well as whether you have a good chance of challenging the modification request. They can help you mount a case against the other party’s modification request.
Child Support Modification FAQs
1. How is Child Support Modification Calculated?
Using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines based on a change in circumstances, be that a lower or higher income, new expenses for the child, or new family responsibilities for a parent.
2. Does a Verbal Agreement Count?
No. No matter how amicable you are with your child’s parent, you should never rely solely on a verbal agreement for higher or lower child support, as this is not legally binding.
3. Can I Fight a Modification?
This will depend on your specific circumstances, you will need to speak with a lawyer to go through your options.
If you’d like to learn about how to fight child support decrease, get in touch with a member of our team today.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.