I Just Got a Raise- What Happens to My Support Payments?

For most workers in North Carolina, getting a raise or a bonus is a cause for celebration. A raise or a promotion means that you are moving up in the company’s hierarchy, and your hard work is being recognized and rewarded. But for many workers, the prospect of a raise comes with a feeling of dread. Why? Because they worry that their raise might result in higher support payments to their exes. Suddenly, this major success feels more like a disappointment rather than a cause for celebration. But what actually happens to your support payments if you get a raise?

Your Spouse Can File a Petition to Modify Your Support Obligations

The most obvious consequence of getting a raise is having your support obligations modified. Your spouse can do this as soon as they learn of your raise, as this represents a textbook example of a “change in circumstance.” If there is a change in circumstance of this nature, it becomes easy to petition for a modification of support obligations. This means that your spouse can argue that since you are earning more money, you should be required to pay higher sums in both alimony and child support. It is difficult to stop this from happening in many situations.

The Definition of a Change in Circumstance

That being said, the change in circumstance must be “substantial” in nature to qualify for a modification in support obligations. This means that a very slight raise may not require an increase in support obligations. This is a bit of a grey area in the eyes of the family courts, and the exact definition of “change in circumstance” is open to interpretation. That being said, it is fair to assume that a major promotion will result in fundamental changes to your support obligations.

Why You Might Want to Delay Your Raise

Although it might seem a little disappointing at first, it might be a clever idea to delay your raise until after your support payments are no longer necessary. This might result in higher long-term profits – especially if you can convince your employer to retroactively pay you the missed years or months in bonuses at a later date. For example, your children may be a few months or years away from graduating high school. If you wait until after this date, you can accept your raise without having to hand over any additional sums of money. The same logic applies to alimony.

Spousal support is rarely permanent in North Carolina, and you might only need to wait a few years before these payments are no longer necessary. Another potential strategy might involve negotiating with your employer and having the value of your raise transferred to your severance package. This means that you will receive more money when you retire – precisely at the time when your support obligations will be lowered as your income drops. However, it may make more sense to simply pay the increased support obligations if you are facing many more years of child support or alimony.

Ask for Benefits Instead

You might also want to negotiate with your employer and ask for increased benefits instead of a raise. For example, you might get more health coverage – resulting in lower overall monthly costs and more savings. The best thing about this strategy is that your children may be eligible for these health benefits as well, allowing you to provide them with more care without actually sending more money to their ex in child support payments.

It is worth mentioning that there is no tangible way to confirm whether your child support payments are being used for child-related expenses or whether your ex is simply spending the money on themselves. Increased health coverage for your kids through your employer ensures that your “raise” is directly helping your children. The same cannot be said for normal child support payments.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses strive for the best possible outcomes. We know that divorce in North Carolina can continue to cause issues long after the marriage has been officially terminated, and we are here to help you get through these situations. With our assistance, you can strive for economic security and continued financial success with a range of effective strategies. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.