Child Support

Child support is the support given to the party with custody of the minor child. This is a financial obligation for which all parents are responsible and is determined by both parents’ gross monthly incomes. An action for child support is properly brought in the county where the child or parent resides or the county where the child is physically present.

According to N.C.G.S. §50-13.4, child support payments shall consider the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, and consider the estates, earnings, conditions, accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties, the child care and homemaker contributions of each party, and other facts of the particular case.

North Carolina Child Support Guidelines

There is a presumption that the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines will determine the amount that the non-custodial parent will pay in child support, which is based on that parent’s gross income. A parent’s gross income considers actual gross income from any source, including but not limited to:

  1. Income from employment or self-employment (salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, etc.);
  2. Ownership or operation of a business, partnership, or corporation;
  3. Rental of property;
  4. Retirement or pensions;
  5. Interest;
  6. Trusts;
  7. Annuities;
  8. Capital gains;
  9. Social Security benefits;
  10. Workers’ compensation benefits;
  11. Unemployment insurance benefits;
  12. Disability pay and insurance benefits;
  13. Gifts;
  14. Prizes; and
  15. Alimony or maintenance received from persons other than the parties to the case.

Other considerations that are factored into the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are health insurance premiums for the minor 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.

Worksheet A will be used when a parent has primary physical custody of the child. This translates to the parent having the child for at least 243 overnights per calendar year. This does not change if the parents still share legal custody of the child.

Worksheet B will be used when the parents share physical custody of the child. This translates to the parent having the child for at least 123 overnights per calendar year. As with Worksheet A, this does not change based of the legal custody of the child.

Worksheet C will be used when the parents split custody of two or more children. This means that one parent has primary physical 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 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 child support cases. What this means is that certain circumstances warrant deviating from them, either by motion of one of the parties, or by the court’s own motion. This is a “greater weight of the evidence” standard 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. In doing so, the court must consider what the Guidelines would calculate, what the reasonable needs of the minor child are, and why the Guidelines’ amount would not be just or appropriate.

Modification of Child Support

Child support orders can be modified pursuant to N.C.G.S. §50-13.7. This requires a motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party. This is typically going to be an order which is at least 3 years old and a 15% increase or decrease in the amount of child support previously ordered.

As each case differs, Rech Law, P.C. can help you determine the best approach for you and for your family for child custody and support.