As a divorced parent, you likely have to pay child support to continue providing for your children, even when you aren’t with them. These payments, however, are not set in stone. As life and personal circumstances change, your child support payments might have to change with them.
When should I request to change child support?
Not only is child support modification possible, it can sometimes be necessary. There are a few circumstances that warrant a change in child support payments:
- Change in salary: Whether you lost your job, found a new one or received a promotion, a change in your salary likely means you should update your child support. When you lose your job or become temporarily unemployed, you might not be able to afford foreseeable payments. On the other hand, you might be able to help your former spouse out by increasing your payments if you start making more money.
- Change of cost of living: Your cost of living involves how much money it takes for you to sustain your standard of living, such as affording groceries and paying taxes. Moving to a new apartment, house, city or even state can significantly alter your cost of living. In addition, a medical diagnosis may affect the amount you are able to put towards your child support.
- Change in child’s needs: Just as your life might change, your child’s needs might increase or decrease. A change in school or education might warrant a change in your child support payments. So might a medical procedure or involvement in after-school activities.
How can I change child support?
Communication with your child’s other parent can be extremely important when you are considering altering your child support payments. You don’t want to blindside them or surprise them with a sudden petition to make a modification.
When it comes down to requesting a change, North Carolina requires parents to file a petition to the court that originally ordered the payments. You must provide evidence of the need for the modification, and the court will determine whether or not to grant the change.
In addition, you must wait three years before you can make another petition, so you should consider carefully whether the life change you’re experiencing that might warrant the modification is temporary or not.
Prioritize your child
You might see yourself having a stable and consistent financial situation after your divorce, but things don’t always go to plan. When you do experience a shift in lifestyle, you should take the necessary steps so that you can continue to make child support payments. After all, the money goes toward ensuring that your child can look forward to a secure, successful future.