Life can change quickly. One day you may have a well-paying job and the next day, you could lose that job or become injured to the point where you cannot work. Among other debts you may now have difficulty paying, one additional financial obligation may become burdensome – paying child support. When a parent’s financial circumstances change, child support modification may be appropriate to adjust an existing obligation. In North Carolina, a party may make a Motion to Modify child support. Either parent can make this Motion, including the parent who is receiving the child support. In North Carolina, modification of child support is governed by N.C.G.S. § 50-13.7. This statute specifically says:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50-13.7A, an order of a court of this State for support of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested subject to the limitations of G.S. 50-13.10. Subject to the provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-202, and 50A-204, an order of a court of this State for custody of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested.

There are some limitations to modification. The parent seeking the modification must meet a burden of proof.  The burden of proof is a showing of a substantial change of circumstances affecting the best interests and welfare of the child or children in question. Any number of reasons can be given to meet the burden of proof, including but not limited to an increase or decrease in the child’s needs or a decrease in the income of the party paying child support or a change in the custody arrangements of the child. The courts recognize that sometimes changes in income or expenses for children occur slowly over time.  As such, if after three (3) years since the entry of the most recent child support order or modification, the parent seeking modification of the child support order  demonstrates that a calculation of child support results in a difference of 15% or more from the last award, it is presumed that the modifying parent has met his or her burden of proving a substantial change of circumstances.  Typically, after meeting this burden the  child support will be modified. Parties should present evidence in support of these changes as not all situations are eligible for modification.

If you or someone you know may have a matter where any of the above-mentioned situations are involved, contact Hatcher Law Group for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understand your rights and options moving forward.