3 BIG REASONS TO SEEK A CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION
Questions about Child Support are some of the most common Questions we receive. As a result, we put together this Guide to help educate you on Child Support, and help you decide whether a modification of Child Support may benefit you.
Here are our 3 BIG Reasons to Seek a Child Support Modification:
1. Has your income changed?
If your income changes then it may be beneficial to seek a modification in child support. Child support is based, in part, on the income of both parents, and the number of overnights the minor child has with each parent (we’ll talk about overnights below).
If you pay child support and your income has gone down then it’s possible, depending on what has happened with the other party’s income, that your child support obligation may go down along with your income. There are a lot of other factors, such as the number of overnights you have the minor child, that affect your child support obligation in addition to your and your ex’s income.
If you receive child support and your income has gone down, or up (yes, either up or down), it’s possible you could receive more child support. We’d need to discuss the specifics of your situation such as childcare, health insurance, and number of overnights to know for sure whether a modification would be to your advantage, but you should definitely seek advice.
2. Has your Ex’s income changed?
If you receive child support, and suspect your ex’s income has gone up, then it may make sense to seek a modification of child support. This depends on what has happened with your income (see above). It will also depend on other factors such as number of overnights you spend with your child. Either way, it’s important to seek some advice about your particular circumstances.
If you pay child support, and suspect your ex’s income has changed, especially increased, then we should take a look at whether it makes sense to seek a modification of child support based on that increase along with other expenses like health insurance and childcare.
It’s important to note that the child support calculation is not linear. That means a $1 change, up or down, in income does not represent a $1 change, up or down, in support owed.
3. Has the custody schedule changed?
Next to income, the biggest factor used to calculate a child support obligation is the custody schedule. Many times you will start out with one custody schedule, and slowly transition to a different one, but you don’t necessarily change your Child Custody or Child Support orders. This can be a really big mistake that costs you a lot of money.
Lets talk about why:
Child Support in North Carolina is calculated using one of two schedules: Schedule A & Schedule B. Which one of those schedules you use has an enormous bearing on how much you will owe, or receive, in Child Support.
Lets talk about the schedules separately:
Schedule A is used when one parent has primary custody. Primary custody means that one parent has more than 242 overnights per year. For instance, if your ex has the child every other weekend (Friday to Monday) then that would result in approximately 78 overnights for them and 287 for you. This would put you securely in Schedule A.
Schedule B is used when there is a shared custody schedule. Shared custody means that each parent has 123 or more overnights per year. For instance, if your ex has the child every other week (Friday to Friday) then that would result in roughly 182 overnights for one parent and 183 overnights for the other. This would put you squarely in Schedule B. Even if you barely make it onto Schedule B with 123 overnights it can have a huge effect on your child support obligation. The more equal the custody schedule the lower the child support obligation.
Long story short, if the Custody Schedule has changed even slightly, depending on what’s happened with income, health insurance, childcare, etc., it may make sense to modify Child Support. This is especially true if you have sufficient overnights to move from Schedule A to Schedule B or vice versa.
What do I do now?
This is just the beginning, but you’ve taken the first step: Education. We know you may be overwhelmed, but together we will develop a plan that fits your situation, and addresses your specific concerns.
Do you have more questions? Call now to schedule a consultation, or click here to schedule a consultation online.
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