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When can child support be modified?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Child Custody |

Child support orders help to ensure that both of a child’s parents share the financial responsibilities of raising that child even though the adults aren’t in a relationship any longer. It helps the parent who receives the support to pay for things like the child’s housing needs, food, education and other necessities.

The amount of child support that one parent has to pay is set by the court based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. Because orders are set based on a family’s circumstances at a single moment in time, it’s sometimes necessary to seek a child support modification.

Child support modification basics

In North Carolina, child support modifications are possible when there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued. This change must be substantial enough to warrant a review by the court. Common grounds for modification include changes in the needs of the child, employment or income.

A parent experiencing a substantial increase or decrease in income might qualify for a modification. For instance, if the paying parent loses their job or receives a significant pay cut, they may petition the court for a reduction in child support payments. If the recipient parent’s financial situation improves significantly, the paying parent might seek to decrease their payment obligations.

Changes in the child’s needs

Modifications can also occur due to changes in the child’s needs. As children grow, their requirements evolve, potentially affecting the financial impact on the recipient parent. Increased costs for education, medical care or extracurricular activities may justify a request for higher support payments.

Additionally, if the parent who receives support remarries and the household income increases substantially, this could be a factor in modifying the support order. Courts will consider the combined financial resources available to the child when determining if a modification is appropriate.

Child support modifications can be complex, so it’s best for both sides to understand their rights and responsibilities. Working with a legal representative who can assist with these matters can be beneficial accordingly.