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What Factors do North Carolina Courts Consider When Calculating Child Support?

When judges in North Carolina set out to determine child support amounts, they will use a complex formula to make the calculations. The final amount will ultimately be based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. As a parent in search of answers, you’ll find an abundance of information about those guidelines on the web—maybe a little more than you bargained for, in fact. If you’d like to keep things succinct, here’s a brief overview of the factors used to calculate child support in North Carolina.

What’s Included in the Support Order
Your child support order can include financial aid for a wide range of expenses. In addition to basic support funds for food, clothing, and shelter, your order might also involve money for health insurance, basic educational expenses, child care expenses, certain medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.

Income Shares Model
Because the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines use an “income shares model,” they view the concept of child support as something both parents share. That means according to the guidelines, children must receive the same proportion of financial support they would receive if both parents still lived together. For these reasons, both parents are considered to be responsible for child support.

Main Factors of a Support Order
There are several factors involved in calculating child support in North Carolina, but these are among the most significant:

  • The gross monthly income of each parent
  • The monthly cost of daycare for each child
  • The cost of medical insurance, like family group health insurance
  • The living arrangements of each child (overnights with each parent)

Other Factors
Some additional factors will also be considered in the child support calculations:

  • Bonuses or commissions of either party
  • Voluntary unemployment or underemployment
  • Previous standard of living for the Minor Child
  • Actual costs incurred for the Minor Child
  • If either party is self-employed the income of that party may vary greatly depending on their business expenses and the tax designation of the business
  • IRA and stock options received by either party
  • Special education needs of the Minor Child
  • And any other factors that the presiding judge may want to consider

Failure to Pay
If either parent misses one or more child support payments, the other parent can petition the court to force the non-paying parent to pay using several tactics. For instance, the court might withhold income from that parent’s wages or benefits, place liens on their property, garnish their tax refunds, and even impose criminal penalties. If you are unable to make your child support payments, it’s best to pursue a court order modification to change the original child support order.

There’s a lot to keep in mind about North Carolina’s child support laws, but the friendly attorneys at Easterling Law can simplify the process for you. Give us a call to discuss your options with a knowledgeable family lawyer. Whether you need assistance creating a child support order, enforcing an existing order, or modifying an order, we would be happy to lend a hand.