In Wilmington, North Carolina family law cases, child support payments are an amount determined by the court paid by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent each month in order to support the ongoing needs of that child. According to North Carolina General Statutes, child support payments may be modified or vacated entirely by the court in North Carolina if the interested party can show that the circumstances of the arrangement have changed. Child support payments as laid out in a separation agreement, including those laid out in a divorce decree can also be modified with the help of a Wilmington, North Carolina child support lawyer.
- However, the statute allowing for reduced child support payments as outlined above does not apply to obligations laid out in an unincorporated separation or property settlement. In this instance, the parent seeking changes to child support payments would need to file a complaint, usually with the help of a Wilmington family law attorney.
How are Child Support Payments in Wilmington, North Carolina Determined?
In the state of North Carolina, the amount of child support payments is based upon a formula that is laid out in the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines determine the amount for child support payments in Wilmington NC by considering the gross monthly income of both spouses, the number of children, and the schedule of custody. Additional factors may be considered, such as health insurance, costs of child care, and other so-called "extraordinary" expenses.
- In the event that circumstances change, however, a non-custodial parent may file for reduced child support payments.
Grounds to Reduce Child Support Payments in Wilmington, North Carolina
Similar to modifying a custody agreement, there is a two-step process by which a parent may reduce child support payments. First, the judge will need to determine whether the change in circumstances is substantial compared to the circumstances when the initial order for child support was given. If certain payments were determined in a separation agreement, then the date this agreement was incorporated into the divorce would be the relevant date. This is important because if the parents enter into a separation agreement six months prior to the divorce being finalized, the circumstantial change must occur after the divorce judgment in order to be considered for reduced child support. If the judge determines that the circumstances have changed, the court will make a new determination about the amount, duration, and scope of child support payments based upon the North Carolina guidelines.
Will Loss of Employment Reduce Child Support Payments in Wilmington, North Carolina?
Loss of employment is a common reason used to reduce child support payments. In the case that a non-custodial parent loses their job due to circumstances beyond their control, that parent may apply to reduce child support. However, the court will need evidence that the loss or decrease of income is in good faith - that is, that you didn't voluntarily leave a job with the intent of reducing child support payments or to simply avoid working. The court will also wish to see that efforts have been made to seek other employment.
How a Change in the Needs of a Child May Reduce Child Support
A change in the financial needs of a child includes changes in education expenses, travel expenses for visitation, and so on. For example, if a portion of your child support payments were going to an expensive private school, but your child has since switched to a public school, you could potentially request that your child support payments be reduced to reflect that change.
In order to use this as your basis for a motion to modify child support payments in Wilmington, North Carolina, the parent must be able to prove this change and the amount associated with it. A child support lawyer in Wilmington, NC will be able to help with this process.
Voluntary Decreases in Income and Reduced Child Support in Wilmington, North Carolina
We have discussed the fact that an involuntary reduction in income, such as losing a job through no fault of your own, may result in reduced child support payments in Wilmington North Carolina. However, even if the decrease in income is voluntary, in certain circumstances the court may still reduce child support if that change was determined to be in "good faith."
Consult with a Family Law Attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina About Your Case Today
If you are paying child support and believe you may have significant grounds to see those payments reduced, contact a Wilmington, North Carolina child support lawyer today. The knowledgeable and experienced staff at Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division serving Wilmington can advise you as to your chances for reduced child support and can guide you on the best path forward.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401