It’s time for kids across North Carolina to head back to school. Whether you as a parent have been looking forward to this time or not, it is a time of transition for everyone.
However, parents who share custody could find that they have an especially difficult transition to overcome. This is because certain changes that come with kids getting older and starting a new school year could require court-approved or court-ordered custody and/or support modifications.
If your child is attending a new school that is much closer to one parent than the other, it may be in your child’s best interests to spend more weekdays with the parent closer to the school. If your child participates in numerous extracurricular activities, it may fall on the parent with more availability to have custody on days when the child needs transportation or parental involvement.
In these situations, it may be necessary to modify your custody arrangements. You may be able to work out a new schedule yourselves, or you may need the court to make a determination on whether certain changes warrant modification.
As children grow up, their needs change. For instance, teenagers may have more financial needs than younger kids have, thanks to things like sports, music classes and educational investments. Further, if your kids are starting to attend school full-time instead of going to day care every day, then this could spell a dramatic change in parents’ financial obligations.
Under these and similar circumstances, modification of your child support order may be necessary. Keep in mind, though, that North Carolina courts dealing with child support through North Carolina Child Support Enforcement set a standard of reviewing child support orders every three years, but with so many cases in the system, many cases may not come up for automatic review. Regardless of the amount of time since the last child support order was entered, parents can still request modification if there are permanent, substantial changes in financial needs of the children or the financial resources or income of the parents.
Seeking, preventing or enforcing modifications
If you have any questions or concerns about a support or custody modification, it can be wise to discuss them with a family law attorney. Whether you want to request, prevent or enforce a modification, you have rights and legal options to understand and protect. Talking to an attorney can help you accomplish this.