Child support is a serious and frequently emotionally-charged issue in many divorce cases. In North Carolina, both parents are charged with an obligation to support their children, whether they were legally married, cohabiting but unmarried, simply in a relationship with one another, or co-parenting a child despite having no connection to each other.
When questions about finances and child support inevitably arise, both parents can quickly become emotional and often contentious. That’s why it’s essential to engage an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the often thorny issues involved in supporting any children with your ex-spouse, partner, or co-parent.
At Camino Law, we specialize in helping families work together to resolve child support issues and stay out of court. We believe that every child should have the support of both parents, and we want to help our clients be the best co-parents possible.
In North Carolina, child support is a payment from one spouse or partner (the “noncustodial” spouse) to the other (“the custodial” spouse). The purpose of the payments, which can be monthly or periodic, is to supply for the child’s basic needs, like education, nutrition, recreation, housing, and other vital needs.
Child support is governed by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which is established by the Conference of Chief District Court Judges. These guidelines employ a formula for calculating a monthly support amount. However, the guidelines form what is called a “rebuttable presumption” in any legal proceedings. This means that a judge can choose to deviate from them and select his or her own guidelines, especially in cases where evidence shows a certain party may not be able to pay for a child’s needs.
Obligations to pay child support are typically determined by each parent’s income levels. Courts use worksheets to determine which parent is in a better position to pay support.
Parties with sole custody (which typically means a noncustodial parent has fewer than123 nights with a child per year) use a certain set of guidelines. Cases involving parents with joint custody involve a separate set, and shared custody cases use yet another.
Some of the factors that play into child support determinations include:
Health insurance costs
Daycare and other childcare costs
Not all parents have a steady income sufficient to fund child support costs. Others are self-employed and have varying monthly incomes. These cases typically call for more analysis from the court.
A child support order can be adjusted, but this typically requires a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. In most cases in North Carolina, judges will agree to alter an order when one parent has experienced a roughly fifteen percent change in his or her income level.
Common reasons for modification of a child support order may include, among others:
A job loss
A promotion or raise
North Carolina law also provides that child support orders are subject to review when at least one child involved is under the age of 18 and a minimum of three years have elapsed since the most recent support order was passed.
If you have questions about child support in North Carolina, you should consider contacting an experienced family law attorney. At Camino Law, we work with parents to resolve child support issues so that their child or children receive the absolute best support possible. We encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We will discuss the specific facts of your case and determine the best path forward for you and your family.