Child Support

Once child custody is established child support is often relatively easy to determine by using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines determine a child support obligation (or lack thereof) based on the gross monthly incomes of both parents, the number of overnight stays the child has with each parent, and any health insurance or work-related child care costs paid by either parent. In addition to a monthly amount of child support being established, the parents typically share medical and dental expenses for the children that are not covered by insurance, with the sharing often being done pro rata based on the respective incomes of the parties.

arrows up and downIn certain high-income cases, the Guidelines are inapplicable and instead child support is determined by an analysis of the actual monthly needs of the children based on how they were used to living before their parents separated. Once established, child support is modifiable only upon a substantial change in circumstances, which most often involves one of four events: (1) an increase in the needs of the children; (2) an involuntary decrease in the income of the parent paying child support; (3) a change in the physical custody schedule; or (4) a child support order that is three years old or more and where there is a 15% disparity in the child support owed under the existing order and a current application of the Guidelines.

money considerationsUnlike other areas of family law, child support issues have little to no tax consequences. A child support payment is not deductible by the payor, nor is it taxable gain to the payee.