Parent is surpressing income


#1

My ex is trying to get a child support modification after only paying for two months since the first original order took effect. I believe that he is trying to surpress his income by showing a few weeks of lower than normal pay to say that his income has dropped as he is good friends with his boss. He filed this in December 2012. Can I ask the judge to make him periodically submit his paystubs to CSE to make sure he is not surpressing his income? What is normally considered a substantial amount of drop in income that normally warrants a modification of child support? I was initially told by CSE that this order would stay in place for a while unless there was a substantial change of circumstances. Also can I contest to the judge that the current modification has a lower rate because he “says” he pays cash child support for a child from a previous relationship? I do not believe that he is paying cash and he has no reciepts or checks that prove it. In fact it would be impossibile for him to be paying it because if he was, his expenditures would far exceed his income.Thank you.


#2

There needs to be a 15% difference between the current and new child support order. If it’s only been 2 months, I’m not sure he can even ask for a modification unless he had a life changing circumstance as the courts usually only address child support modifications every 3 years.

I always get confused if the 15% difference and the 3 year limit is an and/or situation.


#3

There is nothing stopping him from filing a motion to modify. The issue is whether (1) the judge finds that there has been a change in circumstances warranting a change in the award and if the answer is yes (2) what the new income would be that would be used for the calculation.

If you believe he is trying to decrease his income solely for this purpose, I would subpoena all of his banking records, pay records, and credit card records to show that he makes more than he is claiming and spends more to prove it. If the decrease is only going to be temporary, a judge will likely not decrease the obligation. If you think his friend is in on it, you should subpoena him to testify.

What a judge will order will vary from county to county, but I have seen a few cases where the judge reduced the amount paid but then held review hearings and increased the figure once the party’s income increased.


#4

Kathleen,

Can you clarify the 3 year rule?

It seems like every time the issue of child support modification is brought up, the answer changes.

Sometimes I hear:

3 years and a 15% difference
3 years OR a 15% difference
Anytime there is a life changing circumstance

What is the correct thought?


#5

N.C.G.S. 50-13-7 states, “an order of a court of this State for support of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested subject to the limitations of G.S. 50‑13.10.”

The guidelines go on to state, “[i]n a proceeding to modify the amount of child support payable under a child support order that was entered at least three years before the pending motion to modify was filed, a difference of 15% or more between the amount of child support payable under the existing order and the amount of child support resulting from application of the guidelines based on the parents’ current incomes and circumstances shall be presumed to constitute a substantial change of circumstances warranting modification of the existing child support order.”

Basically, the goal of the guidelines is to say, if it has been 3 years and there will be a 15% difference in the amount, this will constitute a change warranting modification. This allows for a modification without being able to pinpoint a specific change (like a change in the custody schedule, job loss, expenses for the child, etc.) which are usually used when a party files a motion.


#6

Thank you Kathleen. That clarifies a lot for me!