Baucom v. Vlahos (North Carolina 2018)
A petition to modify a child support order must request specific relief. Otherwise, the terms of the underlying order do not change. The mother appealed a court order denying her request for reimbursement of uncovered medical expenses. The original divorce decree ordered the father to pay a specific percentage of the uncovered medical bills. A subsequent modification order did not address medical bills. The mother then filed a motion for reimbursement of medical expenses. The father argued he didn’t have to pay any uncovered medical expenses because the modified order didn’t address this issue, and this order superseded the original decree. The trial court denied the mother’s petition. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision. It found that petitions to modify child support must plead for specific relief. This petition only requested a decrease in child support. Therefore, the remaining provisions of the original order, including the terms for payment of uncovered medical bills, remained in place.