North Carolina Child Support Guidelines
North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are based on economic data which represent adjusted estimates of average total household spending for children between birth and age 18, excluding child care, health insurance and healthcare costs in excess of $250 per year. Expenses incurred during visitation are not factored into the guidelines. The family lawyers at the North Carolina family law office of Haas & Associates, P.A. help clients interpret these guidelines.
Different worksheets are used for the calculations depending on how much time the child spends with each parent:
- Worksheet A is used where one parent has primary custody of the children.
- Worksheet B is used when one parent has at least 123 overnights with the children each year.
- Worksheet C is used when one child is in the primary care of one parent and another child or children are in the primary care of the other parent.
Child custody and child support are related in the sense that the custodial situation determines which worksheet to use. However, it is important to understand that custodial rights are NOT based upon whether or not a parent is paying child support or the proper amount of child support. This means that you may not withhold visitation with the children from a parent who is not paying child support.
Other considerations affecting awards of child support
Rarely does the court deviate from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. However, the court does take into consideration variables such as childcare, tutoring, health insurance premiums, counseling and other child-related expenses. When there are other factors considered important, the court may set aside the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. Having a child support lawyer well-versed in these issues can help ensure that clients are treated fairly.
Contact us at 919-783-9669 today to discover how we can help you with NC child support questions.
The guidelines assume that the parent who receives child support will claim the tax exemptions for the child. If the parent who receives child support has minimal or no income tax liability, the court may deviate from the guidelines and consider requiring the custodial parent to assign the exemption to the supporting parent.
Supporting children is a parental duty
Child support payments continue until a child's minority ends at age 18. However, there are three instances in which child support could continue past age 18:
- If at age 18, the child has not yet graduated from high school and is not otherwise legally emancipated
- If the supporting parent agrees in writing to continue support past age 18—for example, to assist a child during college
- If the child, at age 18, is not mentally or physically capable of self-support
It is important to understand that both parents owe a duty of support to their children. For children who are living with third parties such as grandparents, aunts/uncles or family friends, both of the child's biological/legal parents should be paying child support. When children are forced to become dependent on government assistance, it is common for the county to seek child support from both parents as reimbursement for the governmental support of the children.
Paternity is also an issue directly related to child support. If you are unsure whether you are the father of a child and you are being asked or ordered to pay child support, you may need to file an action to establish paternity.
To calculate child support based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, click on our North Carolina Child Support Calculator.
Modifying existing child support orders
To modify an existing child support order if the order is less than three years old, proof must be presented to show a substantial change of circumstances. For a child support order that is at least three years old, a difference of 15 percent or more between the amount of the existing order and the amount of child support resulting from the guidelines based on the parents' current incomes and circumstances is considered a substantial change of circumstances warranting modification.
If you have questions about NC child support, contact the family law attorneys at Haas & Associates, P.A.