After parents separate, decisions must be made regarding the care of any children they have together. This includes financially supporting the child’s daily expenses, as well as medical costs. The custodial parent is entitled to receive child support to help with these expenses. Certain factors are considered when a family court decides what this amount will be. Prior to petitioning for child support, a family law firm in Raleigh should be contacted to get more information. Raleigh family law attorneys at Fresh Start Family Law help parents understand this process and what needs to be done to initiate this request.
Child Support Basics
Child support is a monthly payment given to the custodial parent to help with the child’s expenses. In addition, the following points are important to know about this arrangement:
- Child support is enforced by the government. If payments are not made voluntarily, they can be garnished from wages. Non-payment can also lead to other consequences.
- The amount of a child support payment can change. A court can increase the payments if there has been a change in circumstances, i.e. a pay increase. If you’d like to request a decrease, ask Raleigh family law attorneys how this can be done.
- The support order can still be enforced after an interstate move. If the non-custodial parent moves, they are still responsible for child support payments.
- North Carolina child support law is based on a strict formula known as guidelines. The North Carolina child support guidelines are calculated by using the North Carolina Child Support Formula Manual.
- Sometimes, parents’ combined income pushes their family off the guidelines. While the guidelines change and the amount can be adjusted, the current amount is no more than a combined adjusted gross income of $30,000.00 per month ($360,000.00 per year). If this is the situation in which you find yourself, contact an attorney at Fresh Start Family Law today to learn more about how your case is handled differently from the guidelines.
Factors considered in awarding child support
Factors in the North Carolina Child Support Formula Manual that are used to determine the amount of child support, medical support, and childcare obligations are:
- Mother’s gross income
- Father’s gross income
- Number of children of the parties
- The overnight parenting time of each parent
- Other child support obligations, or custody of other children
- Health care costs for the minor children
- Childcare costs for the minor children
Factors incorrectly assumed to be part of the child support equation
- The bills of the parties.
- The tax liability of each party.
- The lack of visitation for the party who pays the support. Sometimes a non-custodial parent believes that if he/she doesn’t see their child, they shouldn’t have to pay child support. This is incorrect. Parenting time and child support are two separate issues. Child support is still due, even if the parent paying the support is not exercising his/her parenting time.
- The new spouse of a party. If a party marries another person, that new spouse’s income is not used in the formula.
- Some people believe that if they don’t have a job, they won’t have to pay support. This is incorrect. If a party has no income, or is under employed, the Court may “impute” income to the party. Imputation of income means that the Court determines a party has the ability to earn a certain income and then bases the order on that amount of imputed income.
Let us help you
The above is not intended to be legal advice and is only a brief overview of North Carolina Child Support law. A family law firm in Raleigh can give more advice regarding your specific situation and how it may be impacted by child support. Contact Fresh Start Family Law for more information.