Cary Child Support Lawyer

If you have children, part of the divorce process is determining if child support is necessary and, if so, which parent will be responsible for the support. Generally, the parent who has majority physical custody receives child support from the other parent. North Carolina uses the “income shares” model to determine how much support each parent contributes. This model is based on the concept that both parents are responsible for contributing to their children’s financial needs and that the child should get the same proportion of income they would’ve received if the parents stayed together. There are special circumstances that can make the “income shares” model inapplicable. An experienced Cary child support lawyer will be able to help figure out the child support needs for your family’s particular situation.

Child Support in North Carolina

Guideline-based child support in North Carolina is based on a combination of the parent’s adjusted gross income, the number of children the couple has, and the number of overnights to be spent with each parent. Income includes money from any source, including, but not limited to, regular wages, self-employment, commissions, dividends, bonuses, and severance pay, but not alimony from one parent to the other.
Business ownership, income from a partnership or a corporation, retirement pensions, rental property income, annuities, trusts, capital gains, and interest are also included as income sources, as are workers’ compensation benefits, disability pay, Social Security benefits, gifts, alimony/maintenance from another relationship, insurance benefits, and prizes.

There are a few sources of income that do not count toward child support, including certain public assistance programs, child support payments for the children of a previous marriage or relationship, and adoption assistance benefits.

If you receive Social Security benefits or benefits from the Veterans Administration on behalf of a child, those amounts are added to the adjusted gross income for the parent with primary custody, but then deducted from the amount you pay each month. For example, if your spouse receives $200 per month for your child because of your time in the military, and your child support obligation is $300 per month, you would only be responsible for the last $100 per month.

For business owners, the adjusted gross income is your share of the company’s income minus operating expenses. Of course, it isn’t just as simple as reading your profit and loss statement. Some IRS recognized deductions are added back to your income for child support purposes.
Finally, if the Court determines that a parent voluntarily leaves a job or willingly becomes underemployed in an effort to avoid paying child support, the Court might impute income. This means the Court can say the parent is acting in bad faith and determine what amount of income they should be making and use that in the child support calculation, instead of using actual income.

Figuring out child support gets pretty tricky, and a mistake or misstep can end up costing you a lot. It pays, many times literally, to work with an attorney experienced with these types of cases.

Who Will Have to Pay Child Support?

In most cases, the person who has the least number of overnight custodial nights pays the other parent the child support. However, North Carolina has three child support guideline worksheets based on each family’s situation.

Worksheet A is for custody schedules with less than 123 overnights for the paying parent.

Worksheet B is used in situations with more than 123 overnights and each parent has primary financial responsibility for the child when with each of them.

Worksheet C is for the somewhat uncommon arrangement where one child lives with one parent for more than 243 overnights a year and the other child lives with the other parent for more than 243 nights a year.

Your Cary child support lawyer will help you determine whether you or the other parent pays support and, if applicable, how much child support should be. Trying to do this on your own can result in significant money and time lost, particularly if you are self-employed or have a complicated custodial schedule.

How is Child Support Determined?

North Carolina uses a schedule of basic child support obligations that takes into account both parents’ gross adjusted income to determine an amount that is in a child’s best interest and that allows the child to live in the manner they are accustomed to. However, for those with low incomes, the statutes determine that the paying parent pays a minimum amount of $50 a month. And for those with combined adjusted gross incomes of more than $30,000 per month, the schedule of basic child support may be helpful as a guide, but child support must be determined based on the reasonable needs of the child, taking into account the parties’ accustomed standard of living and each parent’s ability to pay.

When You Have Child Support Problems

Paying child support ensures that your children grow up with a life similar to what they are used to. However, circumstances change. You might have financial issues, or your child might need additional care or have new needs. If you are the paying parent, you can’t just stop paying. However, you can ask the Court to modify the child support order. If you just stop paying, you will have to pay the arrearages (the amount you already owed) in addition to the current child support.

If you have a temporary support order, you do not have to wait until the permanent child support trial to ask the Court to change the child support – your attorney can file a motion with the Court on your behalf. However, modifications are not common and are not easy to get, even when based on a temporary order. You need to show a significant and unexpected change in circumstances to lower the child support you pay or to ask the Court for an increase in child support.

Finding the Best Cary Child Support Lawyer for You

When you have children and are going through separation or divorce, determining custody and support arrangements that are in the best interests of the children are at the top of the list. Both parents must contribute to the support of the child. The parent with the most nights with the children spends more money on food, housing, clothing, and other children’s expenses, which means the parent with primary custody (not necessarily legal custody) receives child support.

When you need help with child support, whether figuring out what the amount should be or collecting child support during or after a separation, contact a Cary child support lawyer to help you through the child support process. Triangle Smart Divorce understands how important your children are to you. We want what is best for you and your family, whether that’s securing reasonable child support for your children or renegotiating your payments.

Contact us today to schedule a call with an experienced Cary child support lawyer.


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