Is Permanent Child Support Really "Permanent"?

North Carolina Child Support Orders are often noted to be a “permanent” determination of child support. But does “permanent” really mean it cannot be changed?

No, the Court can always modify a child support award, even if it was a “permanent” award. Any North Carolina child support award can if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the prior order”. Modifying child support is a two-step process.

First, the Court must find the “substantial change in circumstances” be related to an involuntary reduction of income, an increase or decrease of the child’s needs an expenses, an increase or decrease in work-related childcare expenses, or an increase in health insurance premiums for the child, among other factors. If the child support order is more than 3 years old and the new calculation results in a 15% difference in support, a substantial change is presumed.

Second, after the “substantial change” is met, the Court will apply the North Child Support Guidelines to determine a new child support amount or determine if a deviation from the Guidelines is appropriate.
If you pay or receive child support in North Carolina and would like to learn about your ability to modify an outstanding Child Support Order, please call us today at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.

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