In North Carolina, Like many other states, a child support obligation is based on a set of uniform guidelines. However, this does not mean that child support cases are all the same. There are a variety of factors that may affect a child support case such as income from a closely held corporation, annual income in excess of $300,000 per year, medical, child care and extraordinary expenses as well as social security and or disability benefits. To address some of these issues, our child support blog will have many parts, but for now – lets discuss the basics. North Carolina General Statute §50-13.4 authorizes actions for support of minor children, which is defined as a child reaching age 18 or otherwise emancipated, or if the child is still attending High School until the age of 20 as long as that child remains enrolled in High School. Litigation involving a Child support action may be initiated through a child support action filed in district court or through a county child support agency. Either way, it is very likely that child support will be based off the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are a set of figures used to calculate each responsible person’s obligation based off both parents’ gross income. Within the Guidelines there are three worksheets –
- Worksheet A – when one parent exercises primary physical custody
- Worksheet B – when both parents share joint physical custody
- Worksheet C – when parents split custody with one or more children in each home
A responsible party’s obligation can vary greatly depending on what worksheet is applied to their case, even with the same income calculations. This is because the child support worksheets take into account the number of overnights a person exercises with the minor child(ren), not merely hours spent with the child. For example, a person with more than 123 overnights will have a child support calculation on Worksheet B. However, a parent that spends 70 overnights with their child per year will have a support calculation based on Worksheet A. Other factors that may alter a person’s support obligation are medical insurance coverage, childcare expenses and extra ordinary expenses. The Child Support Guidelines recognize and give credit to a person who is covering a minor child(ren) on a health insurance plan and similarly with child care expenses. Extraordinary expenses are “child-related expenses” that specifically include private school and transportation expenses, but other expenses may be argued to be “extraordinary” by either party. Child Support cases can be extremely complex, and this first child support blog has given information that is intended to be very basic and general in nature and not to be relied upon as all situations are unique. The family law attorneys at Vernon Law Firm are happy to set up a consultation to discuss specific details and circumstances surrounding child support and all family law matters.