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How is child support calculated in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2023 | Child Custody, Child Support

If you are a parent and you are going through a divorce or separation, you may wonder how much child support you will have to pay or receive. Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to provide for the financial needs of their children.

In North Carolina, child support is determined by a set of guidelines that are based on both parents’ incomes, the number of children and the cost of living.

North Carolina child support guidelines

The guidelines use a formula that takes into account many factors. The family law judge looks at the monthly gross income of both parents, which includes wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, tips, interest, dividends, rental income, alimony, social security benefits, and any other regular income.

Gross income does not include income from a second job or overtime unless the court finds that it is regularly earned.

The judge will also look at the amount of work-related childcare expenses paid by each parent and the cost of health insurance premiums paid by each parent. In addition, the amount of extraordinary expenses paid by either parent for the children, such as medical bills, educational costs or special needs, are also factored.

Worksheet A

Depending on the custody arrangement of the children, there are three different worksheets that can be used to calculate child support. The first is Worksheet A, which is for situations in which one parent has primary physical custody for more than 243 nights per year.

Worksheet B

Worksheet B is used when both parents have joint physical custody of all or some of the children. This occurs when the child stays with each parent at least 123 nights.

Worksheet C

Worksheet C is used when both parents have primary physical custody of different children. For example, one parent has primary custody of one child and the other parent has primary custody of another child.

Child support calculator

You can also use an online calculator to estimate your child support obligation. Though, keep in mind that the guidelines are presumptive, which means that they apply in most cases unless the court finds that they are inappropriate.

The court can also deviate from the guidelines if the income of a spouse or other person who lives with a parent and contributes to the household expenses.

They also factor in the special needs of a disabled or gifted child, the responsibility of a parent to support other children or dependents and the tax consequences of the child support order. Judges can also use any other relevant factor that affects the best interest of the child.