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Overview of child support modification

After a divorce, a noncustodial parent in North Carolina may be ordered to make child support payments to the custodial parent. The initial child support order will be based on sate guidelines as well as the needs of the child. If something changes, either parent may decide to petition the court for a child support modification.

A child support order is usually modified due to a significant change in the noncustodial parent's income. However, the child support order may also be modified if the cost of caring for the child goes up or the custodial parent starts earning more money. Other reasons for modifying a child support order include a parent's incarceration, a change to the child custody agreement or a change to child support laws.

If a noncustodial parent's income decreases, it is crucial that the parent petitions for a child support modification as soon as possible. Child support modifications do not apply retroactively, so the noncustodial parent will owe the original child support amount until the court issues it. For many parents who pay child support, there will be a delay between the time that their income decreases and the time that they can start making lower payments. A modification will also not have any effect on amounts that are past due.

A family law attorney may be able to help a parent who has lost a job to submit a petition for a child support modification as quickly as possible. The attorney can advise the client about the type of evidence that a court will need.

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