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Child Support


FAQs


Child support are payments ordered for the support of a minor child in an amount sufficient to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, having due regard for the estates, earnings, conditions, accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties, and other facts of the particular case.

Unlike alimony, North Carolina does have presumptive Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are used to calculate child support that is presumed to be reasonable for parties having a combined gross income of up to $300,000 annually. The Guidelines take into account the following facts for a given case:

  • The number of children for whom support is being calculated
  • The actual income or imputed income of each party
  • Any pre-existing child support obligation (child support paid for another child)
  • Any responsibility for children who reside with the party, but for whom support is not being calculated
  • Work-related childcare costs
  • Health insurance costs for the child (often paid by a parent through an employer's policy)
  • Extraordinary expenses for the child
  • The number of overnights that the child spends with the secondary parent, if the child spends at least 123 overnights each year with that parent and each parent assumes financial responsibility for the child's expenses during the time the child resides with that parent

FAQs

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What is the difference in Worksheet A, Worksheet B, and Worksheet C?

Worksheet A: This Worksheet is used when a child spends fewer than 123 nights with the secondary parent

Worksheet B: This Worksheet is used when a child spends at least 123 overnights with the secondary parent. This calculation takes into account the actual number of overnights (so that a parent with 130 overnights would pay more in child support than a parent with 182 overnights). Worksheet B child support calculations result in a lower child support payment than a Worksheet A calculation. This is because Worksheet B calculations presume that the parent having at least 123 overnights with a child is absorbing significant costs of supporting that child. It is important to remember that there are two components to a Worksheet B calculation: (1) the number of overnights and (2) that each parent is assuming financial responsibility for the child's expenses during the time that the child resides with that parent.

Worksheet C: This Worksheet is used with one child resides primarily with one parent and another child resides primarily with the other parent.

What is imputed income?

Imputed income, or potential income, is an income figure that is used for purposes of calculating child support even if that parent does not actually earn that income. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed as a result of that parent's bad faith or deliberate suppression of income to avoid or minimize his or her child support obligation, then the court may use an imputed income to calculate that parent's child support obligation even if he or she does not actually earn that income.

My ex said he or she would stop working if I seek child support. What would I do then?

If the court found that your ex is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed as a result of that parent's bad faith or deliberate suppression of income to avoid or minimize his or her child support obligation, then the court may impute income as explained above.

Are there ways to have an amount of child support determined that is different from the Guideline amount?

In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to deviate from the presumptive Child Support Guidelines in order to establish an appropriate amount of child support. You should discuss with your attorney whether you should ask the court to deviate from the Guidelines.

How is child support calculated for children whose parents’ income exceeds $300,000 annually?

In these cases, the court evaluates the reasonable needs of the children in light of each parent's ability to pay.

When does a child support obligation end?

Child support terminates upon the child reaching age 18 unless the child is still in high school at age 18. Then, the child support shall terminate when the child does graduate from high school, fails to make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever occurs first. Child support also terminates upon the emancipation of the child.

Does the child support amount for two children get divided in half when one child graduates from high school?

No. It is important to have child support properly re-calculated for the remaining children after one child "ages out" of child support.