Question: In our divorce decree I am ordered to pay $250 a month. I would like to increase the amount but cannot come up with an agreement with my former spouse.
She would like to include my current wife’s income and have my child support increase to $900, which is too much.
If we can’t come up with an agreement on our own, what is my next step in court?
I do not practice in North Carolina. Each state has different provisions which control requests to modify support. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of North Carolina, however, Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in North Carolina who would be happy to help.
You want to increase the amount that you ordered to pay on a monthly basis? If this is correct, I am assuming you are making substantially more than you were at the time of the divorce decree. Was this prompted by a motion for a modification of support or something you two just discussed on your own? If this is something you and your ex-wife discussed on your own, and if either of you want a Court Order increasing support, either of you can file a motion for modification of support based on a substantial change in circumstances. If neither of you seeks a modification, the present Order of $250 per month stands.
Most states have a formula for calculating support. An attorney licensed in North Carolina would be able to tell you the formula which you could apply to find out what you should be paying under the guidelines. Generally, a spouse’s income is not included in the determination of income available for support. However, there are situations where income would be imputed to you based on your wife’s support of the family. For example, if you chose not to work and your wife was supporting the family, the Court could impute income to you based on your earning capacity.
If you do come to an agreement together, you should have an attorney review the provisions prior to submitting it as a stipulation to the Court.
Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.