April 2022 | No. COA21-179 (N.C. Ct. App. 2022)

Morris v. Morris (North Carolina)

The prohibition against retroactive modifications doesn’t come into play if the child support order is temporary. In 2014, the parents filed for divorce and, in 2015, the court entered a temporary support order for the father to pay support, which it then suspended in a 2016 order. In 2020, the court entered a final order and calculated the father’s child support starting in 2016. The father appealed the final order, arguing the 2016 order suspending support became a permanent order by virtue of its duration and it was error to set support back to 2016. The appellate court upheld the order. It determined the 2016 order was temporary order, even though it was in place for a long time. Its language indicated it was meant to be temporary and that the issue of support would be revisited. The Father argued support couldn’t start any earlier than 2018, when he asked the court to modify support. The appellate court disagreed. Because the order was temporary, the start date for support didn’t have to comply with the requirements for starting a modified obligation.

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