Typically in North Carolina, noncustodial parents are required to make child support payments to custodial parents as part of a court order. As we have explained before on our blog, these payments are supposed to provide the child with financial support that enhances their wellbeing.
But sometimes these support obligations can become too much for noncustodial parents who are struggling financially. They may find it difficult to make payments on a routine basis or may have to make tough decisions about their own needs versus the needs of their child. In situations such as this, a noncustodial parent might ask the question we’ve posed above:
When can a parent request modification of a support order?
According to the North Carolina Office of Child Support Enforcement, parents who have child support obligations may request modification of their court order when their circumstances have significantly changed to the point where the child is being affected. Though this may seem broad and a little vague, it’s not difficult to assume that the wording refers to things like loss of employment or financial instability due to other reasons.
It’s very important to point out that modification requests can be filed by one parent or both parents. If both parents agree to the modified amount, the process of approving a request can go a lot faster. If both parents do not agree, the request will need to be reviewed, which can take time and doesn’t always end in approval.
Also, there is a specific time table in which parents need to respond to a modification review. Failing to do so in a timely fashion can jeopardize the request in the end.
If this process already seems confusing, you’re not alone in thinking that. Please note though, you don’t have to file a modification request on your own. You can obtain legal counsel before doing so if you want to make sure you’re doing things right the first time around.