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JD 1992
JD 1992, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32340
Experience:  Began practicing Family Law in 1992
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I have 2 questions: I have a Wake County child support order

Customer Question

Hello,
I have 2 questions:
I have a Wake County child support order question. I am a non-custodial parent to a child I have never met and a woman I had relations with one time before I moved from NC to FL. We have never been in contact and are content with living our separate lives.
In 2011 I fell behind with my payments due to an income reduction. I had an attorney modify my order in early 2012. Since then I have made all payments and have been paying extra to reduce my outstanding balance (Roughly $3000).
Since the modification I got married and have 2 kids with my wife. We do not have a joint checking account at this time but would like one.
My first question is will the state levy a joint checking account to collect arrears even though I am not in contempt?
My second question pertains to a new job I'm starting in a week which will pay me slightly more money- about $5000 annually. In the new job I will be placing my wife and our kids on my healthcare benefits. I have never asked to modify my support order since my wife and I have had our 2 children so things are tight financially but manageable. My concern is that the state will ask to take more money since my salary will be a little higher. Should they ask for more money would it be advised to modify my support order to reflect that my wife and I have 2 children of our own?
Thank you in advance for your help.
Mark Esguerra
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Generally we're only supposed to answer one question and follow ups per thread but these are close enough to where I think we can consider them one topic and follow ups.

will the state levy a joint checking account to collect arrears even though I am not in contempt?

They can. Some states are more aggressive about it than others and some sections within the state are even more aggressive. The fact that it is a joint account will not stop it from being seized/garnished.

Should they ask for more money would it be advised to modify my support order to reflect that my wife and I have 2 children of our own?

Yes, that would be advisable. You will be entitled to some amount of reduction since you have other children and therefore filing a counter-motion to modify can't hurt, it can only help. It will only be a few % difference but over time that few % makes a pretty big difference.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dwayne,Thank you for addressing my concerns. So it sounds like the odds are up in the air as to whether or not they may levy a joint checking account. On one hand they have not levied mine but that is not to say they won't do it I suppose. Would it be worth contacting the state to find out if they would do this? I would love to have a yes/no answer to that question versus it hanging over my head until I am caught up. Also, I believe I read somewhere that there is a monetary threshold that must be reached before more aggressive actions are taken. For example no action, such as a levy, would occur if you were less than $2000 in arrears. Do you have any insight into this?Regarding the counter-motion is this something that would be filed by an attorney or could I request my support order be modified due to a change in my circumstance? I have read that they are typically reviewed every 3 years or so.You have been a big help. Thanks!Mark
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 1 year ago.

Would it be worth contacting the state to find out if they would do this?

My personal feeling is don't contact them. If they intend to levy then you contacting them won't stop it. If they don't intend to levy, then your contacting them may put it on their radar as something to do.

What you may want to do is 1) change the joint account into two individual accounts for the time being and then run everything out of your wife's account, keeping little to no money in yours. You could also just open one or two new accounts and keep no money in the joint account so that if they do levy it there is nothing in it. The objective is to keep no money n any account with your name tied to it.

Do you have any insight into this?

There is no law that absolutely requires them to wait until a certain amount is reached. The arrearage amount just has to be "reduced to judgment" which means that the court has to enter an order with a specific amount in it as to arrears.

Regarding the counter-motion is this something that would be filed by an attorney or could I request my support order be modified due to a change in my circumstance?

You can file the papers yourself but I'd advise an attorney. There are credits you are allowed to take, some income can be classified in a different way, etc. and in 20+ years of doing this I never saw a pro se litigant get the best result they could have. They always missed something that a lawyer would have caught. In addition, lawyer's fees aren't huge for this sort of thing so it's worth the investment, in my opinion. I am a firm believer in people representing themselves if they choose to except for certain types of cases (ex. criminal law, real estate, etc) but there are some other cases where they can represent themselves but aren't as likely to get the same result they would with a lawyer. This is one of those types.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dwayne,Thank you. It makes sense to not contact them and run the risk of flagging myself. My wife and I currently have seperate checking accounts so I suppose we'll keep it that way until I am caught up. Out of curiosity how is the state notified if I were to join her checking account? I am assuming SS# ***** probably raise a red flag...who knows.As for the counter-motion if and when the time comes is this something I could retain your services for? Do you have a ballpark rate?Thanks again,
Mark
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 1 year ago.

The state wouldn't actually be notified. They usually run a credit check (or something like it) and bank accounts somehow show up on there.

Unfortunately, none of the experts on here are allowed to take cases that originate on here. You shouldn't have a problem finding someone local though. Just go to www.lawyers.com and in the Area of Practice box enter Family Law.

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