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Understanding Child Support Laws In North Carolina

We Represent Clients Throughout The Triangle Area

In North Carolina, child support is based upon several factors, including your gross income, the number of children you support, health insurance costs and any extraordinary expenses your child may have.

Ellis Family Law, P.L.L.C., has a combined 40 years of experience serving clients in Durham, Chatham, Orange, Wake, Granville, Alamance and Person counties. Our firm also has a number of family law specialists who have been board certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. We can guide you through the process used to determine child support and protect your interests, whether you expect to receive child support or pay it.

How Support Is Calculated

Your child custody and visitation agreement may affect the ammount of child support you are entitled to receive or are obligated to pay. North Carolina uses three guidelines for child support:

  • Worksheet A is used when one parent has the child for less than 123 overnights during a year.
  • Worksheet B is used when each parent has the child for at least 123 overnights during a year and there is a true sharing of expenses.
  • Worksheet C is used when there is more than one child and the children live with different parents.

The amount of child support determined by the worksheet is presumed to be reasonable. You can deviate from that amount. However, you must prove that the amount of support calculated is not reasonable because: a) it either exceeds or does not meet the needs of your child, or b) due to extreme circumstances, you do not have the ability to pay that amount. Deviations are rarely granted.

When The Guidelines Do Not Apply

The presumptive guidelines are applied in most cases. However, if the needs of the children cannot be met by the presumptive guideline amount, a party may  motion to deviate from the guidelines. Additionally, if the parentss combined incomes exceed $25,000 per month, the actual needs of the children, their accustomed standard of living and the parents’ abilities to pay support are considered by the court to determine a fair child support amount. Remember, both parents have a duty of child support. The child is not simply the financial responsibility of the noncustodial parent.

When Child Support Can Be Changed

  • Either the payer or the recipient of child support is entitled to a recalculation every three years. If the recalculation results in a 15 percent difference in child support, the court will modify your child support to the new amount.
  • If you have an involuntary change in circumstances — such as job loss or being forced to take a lower paying job — you can get a modification of child support. However the change in your circumstances cannot be voluntary.

Protecting Your Interests In Child Support Matters

For more information about child support or any family law matter, call Ellis Family Law at 919-944-4811 (Durham) or 919-891-8838 (Pittsboro), or provide us more information through our online contact form and we will schedule a consultation.