Child Support Adjustment


#1

I have a privately negotiated separation agreement (signed and notarized) with the child support I pay documented and calculated via the states formula. We share joint custody with me as the secondary. I have heard rumors recently which I believe are justified that my position with my employer may be eliminated. This would obviously impact my ability to support my kids as well as to provide health insurance. I believe I am about to receive a new job offer from another organization that would be a stable position but would pay less. I think in view of the current circumstances taking the new position would be in the best interest of myself and my family. Would I be able to re-calculate my support amount when I take the new position or since my current position has not yet been eliminated could I still have to pay based on the old salary since I am technically voluntarily making the change?


#2

*** Not a lawyer ***

You can’t recalculate it on your own at all, it needs to be changed officially. And until it’s official you have to keep paying the current amount.

But if you and your ex both agree to change the amount, I think you have easy options to make it official. If your separation agreement wasn’t incorporated into the divorce order, I think you can just renegotiate it privately with your ex and avoid court entirely. The amendment to your original agreement would be signed and notarized by you both just as the original agreement was. If your agreement was incorporated, then I think you need another court order to modify it. But you should be able to do that with a consent order. It looks like the form is even provided by the NC Courts.

Otherwise, I think you’d have to have a hearing and see what the judge decides. What your chances are, I have no idea.


#3

Thanks for the response. I know we could alter it if the ex is in agreement (still separated so no divorce order yet). I’m just wondering what the ex’s chances might be to impute my income to my current amount for child support even if I take the job at the lower salary.


#4

Yes, if she will agree to a modification or if the agreement has provisions for modification in it, you should be able to rerun the child support calculations and come up with a new obligation. If the matter went to court, to impute your previous salary, she would need to show bad faith on your part. The child support guidelines state, “if the court finds that a parent’s voluntary unemployment or underemployment is the result of the parent’s bad faith or deliberate suppression of income to avoid or minimize his or her child support obligation, child support may be calculated based on the parent’s potential, rather than actual, income.” Your reasoning for changing jobs sounds logical, so I believe she would have difficulty arguing for imputation of income.