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In North Carolina, the amount of child support is determined using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are used when the two parents combined income does not exceed $300,000 per year (or $25,000 a month). Along with the parties’ gross monthly income, other factors are taken into consideration when determining how much child support should be owed. Those factors include, monthly work related childcare expenses (i.e. daycare expense), medical insurance for the children, and any other extraordinary expense. Extraordinary expenses are those related to private or special schooling to meet a child’s educational needs, or expenses incurred for transporting the child between the homes. The Court must use these guidelines in any temporary or permanent child support hearing.
There are 3 worksheets used in calculating child support. Worksheet A is used when one parent has primary physical custody of a child and they spend more than 243 nights a year with one parent. Worksheet B is for joint/shared custody. When using Worksheet B, you will need to know the number of nights the child spends with each parent during the year. Worksheet C is used when there is more than one child and custody of the children is split between the parties. This happens when mom has custody of one child and dad has custody of the other.
Once you determine which worksheet is applicable to your case, you are ready to input your numbers to determine what the child support obligation will be. We’ve taken the guesswork out for you on which worksheet to use when you use our child support calculator found here. This should give you an accurate idea of the child support you will owe or be owed in your case.
What happens when the parties’ combined income is greater than $300,000 per year? The guidelines will not apply to your case and the Judge will award child support based upon the reasonable needs of the child and the parents’ ability to pay.
Can child support be modified? Yes, child support can be modified at any time. A party may make a motion to the Court requesting the modification when there is a substantial change in circumstance. Those changes might be related to the party’s income or the child’s needs. The burden of proof is on the party requesting the modification to show that a substantial change has occurred.
If you have any questions about child support, we’d love to answer them for you. Call our office today to set up a consultation.