How Child Support is Generally Determined
North Carolina laws require that both parents financially support their children. When it comes to child support payments, a noncustodial parent is generally responsible for making payments to the custodial parent—who is assumed to be providing direct financial support to the child in his or her care.
To determine how much child support that a noncustodial parent must pay, courts generally follow the child support guidelines, which looks at the parents’ gross combined income, then accounts for the number of nights the child spends with each parent, health insurance expenses, childcare expenses, and any extraordinary expenses that the child might have. The non-custodial parent’s share of child support is then calculated using a pre-determined percentage.
High-Income Couples Treated Differently
The exception to the aforementioned child support guidelines is for couples with a high combined income. If the combined adjusted gross income is at least $30,000 per month or $360,000 per year, then the guidelines do not apply. Instead, courts have the discretion to look at each case on an individual basis when determining the amount of child support a noncustodial parent must pay.
The court is given the authority to make a child support obligation of “such amount as to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, having due regard to the estates, earnings, conditions, accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties, the child care and homemaker contributions of each party, and other facts of the particular case.”
In other words, courts look at more than just the parents’ incomes. They consider the family’s circumstances and standard of living in an effort to maintain a consistent lifestyle for the child. Because of this wide scope of factors, child support awards with high-income parents can be far less predictable than the standard guidelines.
While no parent should disagree that their children deserve to have their needs met, child support is still a sensitive subject because it involves one parent making significant monthly payments to the other parent. As family law attorneys who have handled cases for both men and women with high combined incomes, we are adept at handling the tough negotiations that come when resolving the issue of child support. We also understand what courts are looking for and how to present a compelling picture of the totality of your situation. We take a proven approach to obtain the best outcomes for our clients and their children.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law provides family law representation to men and women in North Carolina. If you need guidance resolving a divorce or child custody-related issue, we can help you. Our attorneys are experienced, responsive, and proven professionals who will fight for your legal rights. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.