Written by Jonathan Breeden
One of the biggest issues to resolve when a relationship with children ends is that of child support. Child support is the money paid towards health, education, housing, and general welfare needs of children when their parents separate. While this support typically continues until high school graduation, there can be modifications depending on circumstances. You may even ask yourself, “can I pay no child support if my ex agrees?”
Following a separation or divorce, you need a North Carolina child support attorney to guide you through any possible issues when dealing with support needs. Breeden Law Office can help determine what types of agreements about child support the courts are more likely to approve, and guide you through this challenging time. Whether you are seeking to end your support, or you are the parent being asked to give up support, an experienced family lawyer at our firm can help.
In North Carolina, matters of child support can be resolved in a few ways. These include:
The amount of support is determined by using a child support calculator. If there is any deviation from it, whether downward or upward, the court must look at the reasons for such request while always protecting the best interests of the children involved. Remember that to change a child support court order, there must be a significant change in circumstances, or three years must have passed since the order was entered. A non-custodial parent can seek a modification if they can demonstrate the change would raise or lower their payments by 15%.
While there can be circumstances that result in no child support being paid, it is rare. The court will require evidence that the child will be taken care of, even if circumstances were to change in the future. An order of no support could be entered, for instance, if the parents showed evidence that they had substantially similar incomes and were dividing parenting time equally.
Under North Carolina General Statutes §50-13.4, child support payments end when the child reaches 18 years old, except when:
A request to end child support is taken very seriously. Children have a right to support whether parents remain in a relationship or not. In addition, the court must be satisfied that a custodial parent wasn’t strong-armed the other into giving up support.
While you and your ex might agree that you can stop support payments, it is never a good idea forego getting the agreement formalized by the court. Although you may find the court doesn’t agree, perhaps you will receive a modification to lessen the amount. But failing to have a court order modifying or stopping support puts you at risk should the other parent change their mind.
Because the law recognizes that parents know what is best for their children, voluntary agreements can often be made regarding child support. But understand that public policy guards the welfare of children and is typically opposed to allowing a parent to stop child support before the child reaches 18. So, while you and your ex may agree that you can pay no child support, the court may not. Failure to pay support can result in several legal issues, so it is important you seek the help of an experienced family lawyer.