Duty: In case of a divorce in North Carolina, it is the responsibility of both parents to provide support to their child. The court recognizes the parent living physically together with the child as already providing essential support. On the contrary, the other parent (if the child is not primarily living with him/her) must support the child with money or other means of in-kind support.
Amount: In North Carolina, a parent’s child support obligation is generally determined by the NC Child Support Guideline Calculator (last updated on March 1, 2020), and may be subject to periodic reviews. The objective is to establish an amount of support which sufficiently supports the child, based on both parents’ adjusted gross income (which could be modified, if a parent is self-employed; or imputed, if a parent is intentionally suppressing his/her income), the custodial schedule of the child, and known expenses of the child, including health insurance, work-related childcare and extraordinary expenses. The amount established by the court is an attempt to do what is equitable to the child and both parents, and takes into consideration each party’s ability to financially support the child. Deviation: A parent may request (or the court on its own may require) a deviation from the guideline amount if he/she/it believes the guideline amount provides too much or too little support.
Term: In North Carolina, the obligation of child support generally terminates when the child turns 18 years old and has graduated from high school, whichever comes last. Retroactive: The Court may order retroactive support, if it is properly requested, and if the Court determines that the prior amount provided was insufficient.
Parents with low incomes: If the paying parent has a gross income below $1,108/per month, there is a ($50) minimum support directive. Parents with high incomes: If the combined gross income of the parents is above $360,000 per year, determination of the obligation for child support is based on the reasonable expenses of the child, and not on the guideline amount.
Prior Agreement: If the parties have established an amount of child support in an unincorporated agreement (meaning, it has not been turned into a court order), and one of the parties is requesting that the court modify that amount, the moving party will have to show (based on the greater weight of the evidence) that the amount agreed upon is unreasonable (too high or too low).
Modification: Once a child support order is entered by the court, it generally remains in place until there has been a “substantial change of circumstances”. A substantial change is established automatically if it has been at least 3 years since the entry of the last order AND a recalculation of the child support amount would result in an increase or decrease of at least 15%.
Conclusion: We are here to help you BEFORE you obligate yourself, or a Court is scheduled to determine, what you will pay or receive as child support. Give us a call today!