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North Carolina Child Support
Child support monetary payment made by a parent of a child to the parent who has custody of that child. In North Carolina, these payments are typically made monthly and is a financial obligation for which all parents are responsible. This financial obligation is owed even if the parent ordered to pay receives no visitation with the child.
In order to obtain child support, a parent must bring an action by filing a compliant for child support in the county where the child or parent currently resides or the county where the child is physically present. When determining the proper amount of child support, the Court is directed by statute to consider the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance. In addition the Court is to consider the estates, earnings, and conditions of the parents, as well as the accustomed standard of living of the child, the child care and homemaker contributions of both parents and any other facts deemed appropriate within the particular case.
HOW TO DETERMINE CHILD SUPPORT
North Carolina uses a presumed set of guidelines when determining the amount of money owed in child support by one parent to the other. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines use a parent's gross income in calculating the amount owed. When determining a parent's gross income, the Court may consider income from any source, including, but not limited to:
1. Income from employment or self-employment
2. Ownership or operation of a business, partnership, or corporation
3. Income from rental properties
4. Retirement or pension income
6. Income earned from Trusts, Annuities, or Capital gains
7. Social Security benefits
8. Workers' Compensation benefits
9. Unemployment insurance benefits
10. Disability pay and insurance benefits
11. Gifts or Prizes
12. Alimony or maintenance received from persons other than the parties within the child support case
Other considerations that are factored into the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are health insurance premiums for the child, work related childcare expenses, and extraordinary expenses. The Guidelines are based on the "income shares" model, which was developed by the Child Support Guidelines Project. The basic concept is that the numbers are formulated by a shared obligation of the parents of what the child would have received if the parents lived together.
The Court uses one of three "Worksheets" when determining a child support obligation:
Worksheet A is used when a parent has primary physical custody of the child. This means that one parent has the child for at least 243 overnights per calendar year. This does not change even if the parents still share legal custody of the child.
Worksheet B is used when the parents share physical custody of the child. This means that one parent has the child for at least 123 overnights per calendar year. Again, this does not change even if the parents share legal custody of the child.
Worksheet C is used when the parents split custody of two or more children. This means that one parent has primary custody of one child and the other parent has primary physical custody of another child. As with Worksheets A and B, this also does not change based on the shared legal custody of the children.
DEVIATION FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
There is a "rebuttable presumption" that the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines will be used in all child support cases. This means that unless certain circumstances are present that warrant a deviation from the Guidelines, the Guidelines must be used. A motion can be brought by either party, or the Court itself can decide to deviate from the Guidelines. The standard the Court must consider is one of "greater weight of the evidence" whereby there must be findings that the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines would either not meet, or would exceed, the needs of the minor child if used in the particular child support case.
MODIFICATION OF A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER
A child support order can be modified pursuant to N.C.G.S. 50-13.7. This process requires a motion in the cause and a showing of a change in circumstances by either party. Usually, a new order will be granted if the original order is at least three (3) years old, and a the new order would result in a change of at least 15% in the current amount owed for child support.
If you have been served with a complaint for child support, or if you would like to discuss you options for filing a child support action, please contact King & Rowe, PLLC for a consultation.
Contact us today 828-466-3858.