3 year rule for child support recalc?

Im officially divorced and receive child support based on an estimate my ex husband made about what my earning potential is - I’m a self employed massage therapist. He made up a number based on “industry generalities “ that he looked up and I don’t make anywhere near that amount. We were trying to divorce without resorting to lawyers and the court Bc we have children that we were trying to spare a bitter divorce process from. My ex husband will not agree to re-evaluate our child support agreement now that we have seen how much lower my income really is because he is citing a “3year rule” that he claims is a North Carolina thing. Is it true that child support can only be changed every three years? And if not , how can I go about changing what the child support should be if he refuses to work it out with me outside of court? He is in a lot of debt and probably would need to get another job in order to pay me what he actually owes ( I currently work 3 jobs to make ends meet). Would the court order him to pay by whatever means necessary ?

A child support court order can be modified any time there is a substantial change in circumstances affecting the wellbeing of the minor children. It is presumed to be a substantial change in circumstances after the passage of 3 years from the date of the entry of the child support order and a 15% or more change from monthly child support obligation in the current order to what it would be if a new order was put into place based on the parent’s current circumstances.

If you don’t have a child support order right now, then this would not apply to you. If your child support terms are in a separation agreement or other contract, then you can either file a child support action against him in family/domestic court or you can go to your county’s child support enforcement agency and they will help you establish child support per the NC Child Support Guidelines and both parents’ actual wages.

Your ex-husband would have to pay the child support amount from the worksheet (assuming you both make less than $25,000/mo. gross combined) unless he can show that the worksheet amount would exceed the reasonable needs of the minor children or that the amount is otherwise unjust or inappropriate. This is a difficult argument to make in most cases.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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