If you and your ex couldn’t agree on everything before you finalized your divorce, a judge probably made the decisions for you. This includes how your custody agreement works and how much child support your ex pays. But what if you are not satisfied with the judge’s decision?
Your child support order is not set in stone. There are ways you can increase the amount your ex pays.
You have to show that your situation has changed
Under North Carolina law, you may ask a judge to change your child support order three years after your divorce—or if there is a substantial change in circumstances. The change might be in your situation, your ex’s situation or your children’s situation. Some reasons to modify are if:
- You lose your job or stop working due to a health issue
- Your ex starts making more money
- Your children’s needs change—such as an expensive new medication
Even if you and your ex agree on an increase on your own, you should still officially submit a petition to order the change. If your ex doesn’t follow your unofficial agreement, the court could only hold them accountable for the payment the judge originally ordered.
You might have to go back to court
Modifying child support may be quick and easy if you and your ex both agree on the change. If the judge decides that an increase is in the best interest of your child and that the change in your situation is legitimate, they may approve it without a hearing. But things might get more complicated if you can’t agree.
Just like when you first got divorced, the judge will make the final decision if you and your ex can’t. Both of you will have to argue your sides to the judge once more. You will have to prove that your need has changed and that more money will help your child.
With all of the paperwork plus proving your need to the judge, increasing child support may be a complicated and stressful task. Whether you end up in court or it is as simple as filing and waiting for a decision, a family law attorney can help you get through the entire process.