Child Support in North Carolina
Parents are charged with the duty to provide for their children, ensuring the “best interests” and the overall welfare of their children. Each parent individually bears the responsibility to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Actions for divorce and child custody also commonly include claims for child support in North Carolina.
Determining the appropriate amount of child support in North Carolina can be a relatively complicated process, involving consideration of a series of factors including things the number of children from the marriage, gross monthly income, and child care costs.
“The question after, ‘Who gets the children?’ is often, ‘How much do I owe in child support?’ Determining the best interests of the children is of utmost importance, which necessarily includes a discussion of custody and support. Sometimes that is easily resolved by the parties. More often that not, if there is a sustantial dispute following separation or divorce, it involves the children, sole custody, joint custody, or primary custody legal issues.”
– Bill Powers, Charlotte Family Law Attorney
In any family law matter involving children and divorce court in North Carolina, the “best interests” of the children have been described as being of primary importance to any ruling pursuant to the Court’s duty.
All states including North Carolina have guidelines that dictate how child support obligations are calculated. Some parties choose to include the amount in a separation agreement while others rely on the courts to set the amount. Calculating child support can become a complex endeavor for parents and courts alike. Below is an overview of the child support process in North Carolina. Family law attorneys in Charlotte NC and other North Carolina family law courts often refer to “Work Sheet B” to help calculate Child Support, click NC Child Support Guidelines
Parties can file a child support action (complaint for child support / lawsuit) as a standalone action or accompanying an action to a divorce, annulment, separation or divorce from bed or board. When initiated with a court, the action is brought in the county where the child resides or where the parent resides. Subsequently, the case is calendared and set for a hearing. In a less adversarial setting, parties can agree to the issue of child support in a child support settlement contract and settle their differences in a private meeting. There are a number of state and federal administrative agencies that administer the child support calculation and collection processes including Child Support Services and Child Support Enforcement Offices.Follow the Guidelines
North Carolina’s child support guidelines include a plethora of factors courts and parties must consider to arrive at a legal amount. These factors include health insurance, education, daycare, special needs, the earnings and financial needs of both parents, the standard of living the child is accustomed and the non-custodial parent’s ability to meet the support obligation. These guidelines, however, are not set in stone. The court or parties can deviate from the guidelines in consideration of the child’s unique circumstances. In child support agreements and decrees, parties are required to follow strict terms affecting modification and termination of the obligation. These terms are governed by statute and are strictly enforced.
There are a few additional considerations that may fall outside of the normal child support calculation depending on unique circumstances. For example, there may exist a case where the child needs more support than the guidelines require or than previously agreed upon. For a judicial modification, the petitioning party must show a substantial change in circumstances warranting an increase outside of the guidelines. The parties can also agree to the increase in private. For incarcerated parents, the child support obligation does not extinguish. The court can use any income or assets of the incarcerated parent to fulfill child support obligations. While incarcerated, the parent will accrue arrears in anticipation of any future release. The accrual of arrears also applies to parents who have abandoned their obligations. If they evade the support order, they are subject to contempt charges, which carries jail time.Domestic Violence in Family Law Matters
As stated, one of the primary duties of judges in “divorce court” or “family court” in North Carolina involve considering the best interests of any children born of the marriage. Not only do family law judges consider the things like schooling, housing, and clothing, careful consideration is given the overall health and welfare and physical safety of the children.
At times, marriages and “out of wedlock” relationships involve allegations of criminal charges, including things like:
- Family Violence
- Assault and Battery / Assault on a Female
- Communicating Threats
- Assault on Children
- Injury to Personal Property
- Domestic Violence Protective Orders DVPO
If you have been accused of misdemeanor and felony charges, and are also facing the end of a relationship involving children, our law firm is here to help. We provide legal services involving the NC Criminal Laws as well as NC Family Law issues.Charlotte Child Support Attorneys
The experienced lawyers at Powers Landreth PLLC are here to guide you through the child support process. Your child is entitled to an amount that will ensure their well-being and health. We have years of experience handling initial petitions, agreements, enforcement actions, and modifications. We will provide you with aggressive representation on all your support matters. Contact us now for a consultation.