When a couple with children splits up or gets divorced, both parties are responsible for supporting those children. Courts generally assume that a custodial parent, the parent with primary physical custody, pays child support by default. The custodial parent does this through spending money to provide a child with adequate day-to-day care.
Non-custodial parents are usually required to pay child support through electronic payments, checks, cash, or wage-withholding as determined by the court or a mutual agreement between the parents. Payments will continue until the child turns 18. However, if the child has yet to graduate high school, payments can continue until the child turns 20.
In most cases in North Carolina, child support is set by the court using strict mathematical computations based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These computations take several factors into account, including:
- Any health insurance premiums that a parent pays for the child
- Any work-related childcare or daycare costs paid by either parent
- Any “extraordinary expenses” that come up such as private school tuition or visitation-related travel expenses
- The gross monthly income of each parent
- Any other dependent children or pre-existing child support obligations for which either parent is responsible
You and your attorney have the ability to argue for less or more support in deviation from the guidelines if you can prove they don't apply to or are unreasonable based on your circumstances. For instance, if a child has special education needs or expenses, the court may deviate from the guidelines and set support at a different amount.
Also, if you and your separated spouse's gross income is more than $25,000 per month when combined, the basic schedule established in the child support guideline doesn't apply. Instead, the court bases its judgment for support on the child's reasonable needs.
Additionally, some counties require supporting documentation to verify the numbers in your financial affidavit. As soon as you believe divorce may be a possibility, you should start saving checkbook registers, receipts, and pay stubs as proof of your income and expenses.
We understand that divorce is never easy for either spouse. When children are involved, it becomes even more difficult. Attorney Regina Taylor will approach your case with compassion and help find a solution that benefits your family through respectful negotiation. When and if that happens, we will stand up for your rights with a more aggressive approach. Contact our law team online or call us today at 704-861-0700.