Child Support Issues

Dear FutureStepmom,

I hope this information helps!

  1. Yes, her move to South Carolina may constitute a substantial change in circumstances. Of course, that is a determination made by the court.

  2. North Carolina may imput income if the court feels that a party has suppressed their income in bad faith. That is difficult to prove, but it sounds like you might have some good testimony on that.

  3. If you are only going to court over child support, then there is no mediation. If it’s child custody, then there is mediation.

  4. If you think she’s working elsewhere, but not calculating that income in the support, then you do need proof. A PI can certainly help to provide proof that she’s working somewhere else. You can also subpoena her tax records, assuming her employer is reporting her income.

  5. As far as getting married is concerned, get married because you really want to get married, not because of a child custody issue. Making a decision like that under such stressful circumstances could harm your relationship in the long run.

Good luck,

Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 main fax

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

My fiance has custody of his two children after his ex left him and abandoned the children. They divorced two years ago. The agreement specifies that the child support she is to pay is a percentage of her net take home pay.

All was fine for two years, and she paid the set percentage of her net take home pay. Alas, when our relationship became serious and I started to spend time with the children she became hostile. She voluntarily quit her job, and moved in with her parents four hours away in SC.

After she quit her job, she told my fiance that she did not owe any child support, that “20% of nothing is nothing!” This was a huge burden. After six weeks she finally did get a part-time job, but her take home pay is much less than half of her former income!

My questions:

  1. Can her move to SC, or taking only a part-time, job qualify as a “Change in Circumstances”?

  2. Will a NC court impute income, seeing as how she became ‘voluntarily unemployed’ and then took only a part-time job?

  3. Must we go to mediation first, or can we take her directly to court? (The mediator did a lousy job, and his attorney was definitely NOT a Rosen attorney… she was apparently a moron![:(])

  4. We are almost sure that the ex has taken another job waitressing, but she has not used that income in her calculations of child support. What are our options? Private Investigtator? DCSE?

  5. On a related issue: should we get married immediately to avoid the problem of my ‘cohabitating’ with them two or three nights a week? My residence is over 2 hours away, so going home each night is not an option. I sleep only on the couch, we are both Christians and do not have an ‘illicit’ relationship, and I have an excellent relationship with the two children. I was hoping for a big church wedding[:I], but if my visits risk the custody, we will get married ASAP.

Thank you for any advice you can offer [:)]