While child support is generally straightforward, some circumstances warrant a deviation from the child support guidelines. If you think the other parent is hiding income, purposefully not working or suppressing his/her income, or if your combined gross monthly income exceeds $25,000.00 per month, your case may warrant a deviation. Special needs may also be a factor in the amount of child support ordered. Contact Freedom Law | North Carolina to discuss the facts of your case.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support is money that one parent pays to the other parent to provide financial support to one or more children. Usually, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the other parent. However, this is not always the case. Depending on your agreement, the child support a parent pays or receives and the expenses it covers may vary. In North Carolina, child support is often calculated pursuant to the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
Child support is aimed at maintaining a child’s living standard and ensuring all the basic needs are provided. This includes necessities such as:
- School and childcare expenses: Books, clothing, supplies, other associated costs such as field trips, and preschool for younger children
- Shelter: Mortgage or rent and utilities of the child’s principal home to ensure they live in a safe environment
- Medical expenses: Medications, dental care, doctor’s visits, eyeglasses, and similar services that help keep a child healthy
- Necessities: Food, books, clothing, furnishings, and toys that the child will use
- Extracurricular activity expenses: Summer camps, sports activities and similar activities that the child is involved in
Who Is Liable for Paying for Child Support?
A parent whose child is in the physical custody of the other parent customarily is obligated to pay child support. This can be through a mutual concession or a court order. Child support is crucial for the well-being of the child, and it’s also strictly sanctioned by state authorities.
When Does Child Support End?
In North Carolina, child support payments end when the child reaches age 18, or graduates high school, whichever is later in time. However, some parents agree to extend child support obligations beyond the stipulated age in certain conditions, such as if the child has special needs, or if they still reside at home and are attending college.
As a parent, it is crucial to know when child support ends because you may have to take some steps if you want to end court-ordered child support payments. Not knowing this could mean making payments beyond the stipulated time that child support should end.
How Is the Amount of Child Support Determined?
North Carolina uses the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines for calculating the amount of child support, and the Guidelines are used by judges to ascertain how much child support parents will pay in each case.
The biggest factor considered in determining child support is how much the parents earn. North Carolina considers both parent’s gross incomes to determine the amount of child support on a case by case basis. We also consider the time that each parent spends with the child. Other factors that are considered in deciding the amount of child support include:
- The child’s needs, including education, health insurance, and any special needs
- The paying parent’s ability to pay
- The living standard of the child before separation or divorce
Before deciding on child support, courts usually require each parent to fill out a form that gives a clear picture of both parents’ financial circumstances, including information about their monthly income and expenses.
When Can Child Support Be Modified?
Once a child support agreement or order has been placed, the payment amount can be decreased or increased under particular circumstances. For instance, if a child’s financial needs or a parent’s earning ability have changed, these suffice to initiate a modification of the child support.
As a parent paying or receiving child support, remember that the money is meant for the well-being of your child. Although there are many challenges along the way in raising a child, as parents, you must work together and act responsibly to ensure your children get everything they need.
If you need help legal advice in dealing with a child support dispute, contact Freedom Law | North Carolina today. Based in Charlotte, we serve many areas in North Carolina including Union County, Cabarrus County, Gaston County and Mecklenburg County. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a Charlotte child support lawyer.