In 2004, my then wife of 17 years and I, established a legal separation agreement which covered child support, distribution of assets, alimony, retirement payments, and so on. My legal residence was and remains Florida. Hers was and remains North Carolina. At the time of our separation, we had 4 minor children.
In 2006, we received our divorce from the Cabarrus County NC courts but the separation agreement was not entered into the decree. Eventhough the child support was not court-ordered, I've never missed a payment.
Our agreement states that when a child turns 18 the support stops. It was stopped when our 1st child turned 18 in Sep 2007. It was again stopped when our 2nd turned 18 in Dec 2009, however, our daughter was held back in high school due to truancy.
It was brought to my ex's attention that under NC law, child support should continue when the child is still in HS until the age of 20. She went to the Cabarrus Department of Social Services (DSS) and filed for support in arrears claiming I've missed payments. DSS reviewed our separation agreement and determined that she "signed away her right to support" for our 2nd child.
However, DSS wants to increase child support based on today's income AND place our agreement under a court order. I disagree with this on 2 issues.
1) In 2004, the consideration was accepted by both parties and we created a valid legal agreement that is enforceable by law or by binding arbitration. We specifically agreed to "The Wife accepts these provisions in full and final settlement and satisfaction, and herein releases the Husband, absolutely and forever, from any claims or demands for child support and maintenance, except as provided herein." If DSS modifies this contract, is this a fundamental breach of contract?
2) Does she have the right to change one item to her benefit and the remaining items (alimony and retirement benefits) stay intact without arbitration or renegotiation of the other terms? It seems the entire is open for re-negotiation.
I am remarried, serving as a Sr-enlisted member of the US Air Force currently stationed in Germany. I certainly appreciate any professional opinion. I need help in understanding this situation and clarifying what rights I have in this.