As the parent of a child, you have the legal duty to provide for your child. That includes things like housing, food, clothing, and schooling for your child’s general welfare and wellbeing. The NC family laws call this the “reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance.”
Providing for your children is not optional.
Parents share the responsibility to support their children; that’s true whether you have the type of custody or the amount of visitation you’d prefer or not. The best interests for the welfare of children is said to the be “polar star” by which courts are guided in establishing child custody, the frequency of visitation, and the amount of child support.
While child support disputes may arise in a legal matter involving separation and divorce in North Carolina, marriage is not technically required to trigger the protection afforded to children in their upkeep or the legal duty to pay child support.
“The process of calculating child support may be more formuliac than other areas of family law. The Family Court judge is directed by the Child Support Guidlines. The legal issue normally involves how much is child support, not whether you will support your child.”
– Bill Powers, Divorce Lawyer Charlotte NC
Unless there is a legal filing or ruling by a court that assigns responsibility for the financial upkeep of your child to another party, the mother and father shall be primarily liable.
Parents of a minor child (under the age of 18) who has not been emancipated, are jointly responsible for their care and upkeep. Support is mandated under the law and not subject to personal whim. The willful failure to comply with a Court Order regarding child support in North Carolina may subject the defendant to Contempt of Court proceedings.
Actions for support are relatively common, (Show Cause Orders and Motions to Show Cause) in that some parents shirk their duties and responsibilities, thus requiring the Court to step.
The process of calculating child support can be complicated, in that the metrics include and otherwise consider things like:
- The standard of living of the child
- Any earnings from employment by parents
- Contributions as a homemaker by each parent
- Factors that may be unique to the particular case at issue
Court Ordered child support payments are scheduled on a monthly basis and must be paid on the 1st of the month in North Carolina.Calculating Child Support under the North Carolina Guidelines
The North Carolina guidelines for child support use a formula that combines the incomes of both parents and then calculates each parent’s share of support based on the number of children to be supported and the division of child custody between the parents.
There is a presumption that the monthly amount arrived at using the guidelines is the proper amount. However, this presumption can be rebutted with evidence showing that a deviation from the guideline amount is appropriate.
Either parent may request a deviation – either up or down – from the guideline amount, and the judge has the power to deviate from the guideline amount even if neither parent requests it.
The needs of the children, as well as the parents’ financial abilities, are all taken into account when considering a deviation. One example of where a deviation may be appropriate is if the guidelines wind up having one parent paying the entire support obligation plus all of the health insurance.
The formula used in the guidelines arrives at a basic support obligation, but there may be additional support required based on childcare costs, health insurance, and health care costs, and other extraordinary expenses, such as special education needs, or the cost of transporting the children between homes for custody exchanges.How Our Charlotte Family Law Attorneys can Help
It is critical for a fair and accurate child support calculation that all relevant income be included and reported correctly. Unfortunately, some spouses seek to hide or mask their true income in order to pay less or receive more than they should.
Our Charlotte Family Law attorneys can help determine whether income is reported accurately, including complex situations where a spouse is self-employed or a business owner. If a spouse is unemployed or underemployed, we help ensure that the court imputes the proper income level that the spouse could or should be making.
Pre-existing support obligations or financial responsibility for other children can also make the child support calculation more difficult; our lawyers are effective advocates in North Carolina child support matters, no matter how complicated or complex.Contact Charlotte Child Support Attorney Bill Powers
If you are looking for aggressive representation in a child custody matter, we are here to help. Contact the Charlotte child custody attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA immediately, so we can start fighting for you! Call us today at 704-342-4357.
When parents divorce, the court divides that responsibility between the parents according to statutory guidelines and formulas. Charlotte child support attorney Bill Powers can help explain your legal rights under the North Carolina child support guidelines and can be an invaluable help in calculating child support in your divorce fairly, whether you are the paying spouse or receiving spouse.
Contact us online or by telephone at 704-342-4357 to arrange an initial consultation with a skilled Mecklenburg County child support attorney.