Child Support

in North Carolina

What is Child Support in North Carolina? 

Child support in North Carolina refers to the financial support provided by a non-custodial parent to assist in the upbringing and care of their child. In North Carolina, child support guidelines are determined by state law and are based on factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children involved, and the child custody arrangement.

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support based on the income shares model, which takes into account the income of both parents and the number of children requiring support. The court may deviate from these guidelines under certain circumstances, such as extraordinary medical expenses or special needs of the child.

Parents in North Carolina can either agree on child support payments through a written agreement or have the court establish the amount based on the guidelines. Once ordered by the court, child support payments are typically made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to cover the child’s needs, including housing, food, clothing, education, and healthcare. Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in legal consequences, such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver’s license, or even imprisonment.

How is Child Support Caculated?

In North Carolina, child support is calculated using the Income Shares Model, which considers the income of both parents and the number of children requiring support. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved in calculating child support in North Carolina:

  • Determine Gross Income: The first step is to determine the gross (before taxes) income of each parent. This includes income from various sources such as wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, pension, and investment income.
  • Adjust Income: Certain deductions may be made from gross income, such as taxes, social security payments, mandatory retirement contributions, and health insurance premiums.
  • Calculate Combined Income: The gross incomes of both parents are added together to determine the combined monthly income available for child support.
  • Consult the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines: North Carolina provides a set of guidelines that establish the basic child support obligation based on the combined income of the parents and the number of children. These guidelines include a chart that specifies the basic support obligation for various income levels and numbers of children.
  • Determine Each Parent’s Percentage: Each parent’s percentage of the combined income is calculated based on their individual income relative to the total combined income.
  • Allocate Child Support: The basic child support obligation is then divided between the parents proportionally based on their income percentages.
  • Consider Additional Expenses: In addition to the basic child support obligation, parents may be required to contribute to additional expenses such as childcare, healthcare, and education costs. These expenses are typically allocated between the parents based on their incomes and the specific needs of the child.
  • Adjustments and Deviations: The court may make adjustments or deviations from the calculated child support amount in certain circumstances, such as shared custody arrangements, extraordinary medical expenses, or the needs of other children from a previous relationship.

It’s important to note that child support calculations can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case, and it’s advisable to consult with a family law attorney or use the state’s child support calculator for an accurate determination.

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