How to Reduce Your Child Support in North Carolina

By Rob Jennings J.D.
North Carolina law provides for child support reductions in some cases.

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North Carolina courts set child support based upon the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which take into account the incomes of both parents along with medical insurance costs, daycare costs and extraordinary expenses. Over time, the changing needs of the children or a reduction in the obligor's ability to pay can necessitate a reduction in the court-ordered amount. A parent seeking a reduction in his court ordered-child support will need to file and argue a motion to modify the child support order.

Go to and access form AOC-CV-600, "Motion and Notice of Hearing for Modification of Child Support Order." In the spaces indicated, fill in your case number, county, the name and address of the plaintiff (which may or may not be you), name and address of the defendant, and the date and amount of the child support order you wish to modify. Identify the basis for your motion in the space provided for an explanation of changed circumstances. Acceptable bases for a reduction in child support include an involuntary reduction in income and a child's both graduating high school and reaching the age of 18.

Obtain a court date from the clerk of court in the county where your motion is to be heard. Fill in the date and time where indicated on AOC-CV-600. Address the form to the other party or her attorney. Be sure to provide a minimum of 10 days' notice before the hearing.

File three copies of your AOC-CV-600 form with the clerk of superior court in the county where your reduction motion is to be heard. Serve one on the other party or her attorney by U.S. Mail and keep another for your records. The clerk will keep the remaining copy.

Collect evidence of your current income and that of the other party. Obtain your current pay stubs or documentation of your unemployment benefits. If the other party will not voluntarily share her pay information with you, prepare a subpoena for her records using Form AOC-G-100, "Subpoena," then have a clerk in the county where the motion is to be heard issue it. Take it to the sheriff of the county where the other party lives for service.

Appear in court on your hearing date. You must introduce evidence of your current income, the other party's current income and any credits you wish to receive in the calculation of your new child support amount. Show the judge how circumstances affecting the child's needs or your ability to pay have occurred since the date of your last order. A change in the guidelines amount of 15 percent or more will justify a modification.

About the Author

A practicing attorney since 2003, Rob Jennings has written fiction and nonfiction since 2005, with his work appearing in a variety of print and online publications. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.