In many North Carolina divorces where one parent is the primary caregiver of one or more minor children, the other parent is usually required to pay a certain amount in child support each and every month. However, there are situations where the parent who is required to pay child support suddenly cannot due to a significant change in circumstances. Before that parent can get the payment amount reduced, he or she must have the child support order modified by the court.
The process for seeking a modification to the child support order is relatively simple. The parent must document the change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a sudden, debilitating illness. The parent should then file the child support modification with the court that issued the original child support order. Once the other parent has been served, the parent can then go in front of a judge. Alternatively, the parent can try to reach an agreement with the primary caregiver, though any agreement that is made should be in writing and approved by the court.
In the meantime, the parent should continue to try to make the child support payments to the best of his or her ability. If the payment is not made, sanctions could be imposed.
The state child support guidelines are designed to hold divorced parents financially responsible for their children. However, the guidelines are not designed to cause the parent to go into debt in order to make payments. A family law attorney can assist a client who is seeking a child support modification by providing evidence of a change in circumstances.