Child Support

Overview

Every child needs financial and emotional support. Every child has the right to this support from both parents. Devoted parents can be loving and supportive forces in a child’s life, but unfortunately in the day in age, support is sometimes neglected. In North Carolina, child support can be obtained to pay for expenses relating to the child’s care, housing, food, clothing, and transportation. A child is an individual under 18 years of age, an individual under 20 years who is still attending secondary school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support. Child support is money parents pay to help support their children. It may include a monthly court-ordered amount, medical and dental support, and child care support. In North Carolina the court will order that child support be paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. Child support payments are based on guidelines. These guidelines are adhered to by the court in the typical case; however, the court may deviate from the guidelines. The non-custodial parent is ordered by the court to pay a percentage of that parent’s gross monthly income.

How is Child Support Determined?

If the parties’ combined income is less than $300,000 per year, child support is determined based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. In addition to the number of overnight visitations the parents have with their child, there are generally four numbers that are needed to calculate child support: 1) Mother’s gross monthly income; 2) Father’s gross monthly income; 3) Children’s portion of the monthly health insurance premium; and 4) Work-related childcare costs. If either parent has other children in the home or for which he or she pays child support, those numbers are included in the calculation as well. There are different worksheets used in the calculation depending on the custodial arrangement. The guidelines and the worksheets are available at www.nccourts.org.

When Does Child Support Terminate?

Child support generally terminates when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. If the child turns 18 before graduation, child support continues until graduation. If the child graduates before turning 18, child support continues until the child turns 18. Child support may terminate earlier or extend later but only in certain rare circumstances.

What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support?

You can be held in civil or criminal contempt or prosecuted for failure to pay child support. You can be put in jail. Your driver’s license and other licenses can be suspended. Your tax refunds can be intercepted. The courts have a host of options to enforce child support orders.

Can Child Support be Modified?

Yes. Either parent may seek a change (increase or decrease) in child support at any time if a substantial change in circumstances has occurred after the order was entered by the court. A substantial change in circumstances is presumed by the court if the request to change the support order is made three or more years after the entry of the order and there is a 15 percent difference between the amount of support being paid and the amount of support that would be required with new calculations under the Guidelines.

How Do I Find a Child Support Attorney?

You may contact us at (828) 452-2220 and schedule an in-person consultation or a consultation over the phone to discuss your case.  You may also contact us by clicking here and someone will contact you to schedule an appointment.