Questionable Consent Order


Dear RB790:

Greetings. First, let’s make sure that you have done the child support calculator correctly. One thing you did not mention is how much time you each spend with the children.

a. If H and W each spend less than 124 days with the other child (so each has one child for more than 2/3rds of the year) then in your scenario Defendant would pay Plaintiff $17.00 per month in child support.

b. If H and W each spend equal time with each child, then in your scenario Plaintiff would pay Defendant $1.00 per month in child support.

Now, anyone can agree to pay more child support than the guidelines mandate - we call any payment of child support above or below the guidelines a “deviation.” So, you can agree to deviate from the guidelines and many people do it. That is what you have done in a consent order as you mentioned - you agreed to deviate from the guidelines and pay more than the guidelines would have stated. So, no, the new attorney you spoke to is not ill informed on this part of the law.

The attorney who was representing your wife did not owe you any duties to represent your interest and could draft up the consent order in the best interests of your ex, so even if you report them to the NC Bar association, I doubt anything would come out of it.

No, the judge was not duped - its sounds like you were though. The judge will generally sign any consent order which they are given, unless they believe there was coercion or undue influence.

Now, if you are going to hire an attorney to try to get this changed, I wanted to remind you that you cannot simply go in and have it changed because you want to. You can modify child support after three years or if there is a 15% change when the child support guidelines are applied to the current incomes with the old child support amount (as long as it has been 3 years). Baring the three year and 15% rules, you must have a substantial change of circumstances which necessitates a modification. I doubt that not agreeing with the consent order now is a substantial change and you will likely be unsuccessful in court. Best of luck and sorry for the bad news.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

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.


I am presently seeking an attorney to represent me to have my child support amended. I am led to believe that my last Amended and Modified Consent Order (prepared by my ex wife