There may be situations in which divorced parents in North Carolina want to modify the child support amount paid. A modification is possible, but there are several points that parents should keep in mind.
The court considers a substantial change in a parent’s income or in the child’s needs to be the main reasons for granting a modification. Some jurisdictions may limit how often they will review a request for child support modification, so parents should only use this when they need to. One reason might be if a child has new medical or educational needs. A custodial parent should avoid making a request for a modification unless there has been a significant change of this nature. For example, if the other parent has had a small income increase based on cost of living, it is probably not worth pursuing a modification.
A noncustodial parent who is struggling to pay child support may also request a modification, but this should only be done if their income changes significantly. The court will thoroughly investigate the parent’s claim. Parents who need to file a request for a modification should contact their local office of child support enforcement.
Parents should formally change the child support order even if they have already informally agreed to do so. This helps protect parents and children in case there is a dispute about the child support paid. Parents who are seeking a modification because they cannot keep up with their payments may want to make a prompt request since a modification is not retroactive. This means that a parent who loses a job may still be required to pay the same amount in child support until the modification is approved. An attorney might help parents understand any issues they have regarding child support and how to proceed.