Late Child Support Payments and Eligibility for COVID-19 Financial Relief

Child Support Obligations are still in full force and effect despite the current state of the North Carolina economy. It is important that you continue to make any child support payments as set forth in your child support order. If you are unable to timely pay your child support obligation, you should not stop paying without consulting with an attorney. If you are currently paying child support and have lost your income, either temporarily or permanently, it is important that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney, as soon as possible, to discuss your options.

I Paid my Child Support, But it was Late

If you can pay anything at all towards your child support obligation, it is better than paying nothing at all. While contempt charges may still occur, the courts will often look favorably on a parent who attempts to meet their obligation rather than ignore their duty to support their children. A late or partial payment is better than no payment at all. If you are struggling to make child support payments as a result of the novel coronavirus situation, contact the experienced child support attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.

Can I Modify my Child Support Obligation?

Child support orders can be modified upon a showing a substantial change in circumstance affecting the wellbeing of the minor child. Child support orders can only be modified by the filing of a motion with the court. It is important that a motion is filed as soon as possible to preserve the effective date of a modification later in the process.

Typical modifications of child support are a result of:

  • An involuntary change in income of either parent
  • An involuntary decrease in the paying parent’s income
  • An increase in either parent’s income coupled with a change in the needs of the minor child(ren)
  • A child aging out of full-time daycare
  • Insurance coverage changes (i.e. the parent carrying the minor children changes
  • A change in the custodial schedule
  • A change in the reasonable needs and expenses of the minor child(ren)

It is important to note that it is not just a change in circumstances, but a substantial change in circumstances. It is within the court’s discretion to determine what is a “substantial change in circumstances” that justifies a modification of child support. The court is provided with liberal and broad discretion in these circumstances. Our divorce attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have considerable experience in handling motions for modification of child support and are ready to consult with you to assist in determining the best strategy to secure a possible modification of your child support obligation.

If you believe you have possible grounds to modify your child support obligation, it is important to talk through these issues with a skilled and knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when seeking a modification of child support. Often the court can modify a child support obligation back to the date of filing of the request. This is especially important now when the courts are not operating on a regular schedule for hearing routine matters in divorce cases due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

I am Receiving Unemployment Benefits do I Still Need to Pay my Month Child Support?

Regardless of what type of income you are receiving currently, you are under a court order to pay child support and you should continue to pay as you are able. If you are receiving unemployment benefits, this could be the basis for filing a motion to modify child support. North Carolina’s child support guidelines specifically include unemployment benefits in the definition of gross income. This means that although you may no longer be receiving income from employment, North Carolina still considers you to have income available for the payment of child support. The loss of employment or a reduction of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be a basis for modification of a child support obligation, it is not an excuse to stop child support payments without other action.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

If you are considering seeking a modification of child support, contact an experienced divorce attorney in the greater Charlotte area of North Carolina to help you understand your legal rights, and how best support a request for a modification of child support that you deserve. Contact an experienced divorce attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today to schedule your consultation.