Child Support - Modification questions

I am relieved to say that my STBX is now legally my EX! We settled this week on everything including Child Support.

However in our negotations to settle, I wanted to double check to see if what I was told is indeed correct thru the NC Child Support system.

I agreed on a much LESSER amount of CS than IF we had went to court but I wanted for this to be over with. My attorney worded the Child Support as follows:

“The parties agree Child Support shall be established at $225 a month in the pending DSS Child Support Action set for next Monday, August 23, 2010”.

My attorney said he worded it in an “open ended” fashion so that DSS can pursue back pay PLUS give me the opportunity to ask for a MODIFICATION of Child Support BEFORE the regular 3 yr period is up since he did not state that a modification could NOT be done prior to 3 yrs. Is this correct? Can I ask for a modification prior to 3 yrs if for instance I have to start paying daycare (which was not figured into the calculations)? Or what exactly constitues a modification? And how much of a change would it have to be?

Thanks so much! I’m relieved it’s over but I would feel EVEN better if I know I didn’t get bad advice from my attorney (just to persuade me to settle).

I cannot say for sure without reading the entire document, however based on the language that I see you cannot seek a modification for 3 years unless there is a substantial change ( newly incurred day care costs) you may modify support at that time.

What do they consider a substantial change? I may need to put my daughter in after school care depending on whether or not my son can provide transportation after school. He’s going to college & has not gotten his schedule yet.

How do they compute a substantial change? I heard it was a 15% change. But a change of what (how is the 15% calculated)? I agreed to $225/mth. So please tell me how it would be calculated based on that figure.

And if I have newly incurred daycare expenses that exceeded the 15% change, how would DSS compute the change since I settled on a MUCH lower CS payment than what I could have gotten? I settled on $225 but DSS had calculated $300-$600 depending on what could have been proven as his “true” income.

Also… if he gets an actual job working for someone else (rather than his self-employment), would that be reason to request another review of CS?

I just feel that I got ripped off in the CS settlement and was put under a lot of pressure to settle. And my attorney made out like I could get a modification at any time just because of the way he worded the agreement. I gave you the EXACT language of how the agreement was written as far as CS was concerned. If I was told incorrectly, then I would never have settled for such a low amount of CS.

Just a single mom of 3 kids trying to survive…


Forgot to mention that my attorney told me that DSS could NOT base my Ex’s self-employment income on 2009’s taxes. He said that the LAW states that it must be determined what his PRESENT income is. (And he asked me if I could PROVE what that was). No, I couldn’t prove his “current” income.

We had agreed (both my ex’s attorney and the DSS attorney) in a previous court hearing that his income would be based on the “average” of his last 3 yrs tax returns. But my attorney said that is NOT the law, and he could not believe DSS would tell me such a thing.

SOOOO if I was given FALSE information from my attorney (just to persuade me to settle), would this be REASON to try to get the child support re-modified? I honestly would not have settled to such a low CS had I not been pressured and led to believe that DSS was misleading me. I paid this attorney $10,000 and if he gave me false information, can something be done?? I truly feel that I may have been misled.

I don’t want to try to get the attorney in trouble or anything…I just want what I deserve for my child! DSS had figured around $600/mth based on the proof that I supplied them as his income (for the last 3 yrs average).

A substantial change is determined by the judge, but in plain words it is something that makes a pretty big difference in your ability to provide for the child’s reasonable needs. A large increase in child care could certainly be a substantial change. A 15% change in the support number (based on the changed income or child care expenses) is presumed to be a substantial change.

A new job is not on its own enough to modify support unless it creates a 15% change in the support figure and 3 years have passed since the last determination of support.

Child support is based on current incomes. If the current income is difficult to ascertain previous years incomes can be used as a guide to what the current income is. Your attorney did not mislead you.

Hello guys!

Child support is a payment by one parent (often the “non-custodial parent”) to the other parent for the support of their common child. (See Child Support and Visitation.) It is in the best interest of a child for both parents to be obligated to pay for the support of their child. An order for child support transfers the income/wealth from one parent to the other so that the combined incomes/wealth of both parents is available to use for the support of the child.Until the court modifies the original order on child support, your ex-spouse is not under any obligation to pay the increased amount, and if he fails to pay that support, you would have no remedy under the original order to enforce payment.