The family law practice of Tash & Kurtz, PLLC includes handling child support matters, as part of divorce proceedings, paternity proceedings, or modification hearings.
Child support payments in North Carolina are based upon custody categories and an income-sharing method derived from the gross income of both parents. Rarely does the court deviate from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which also take into consideration variables such as childcare, tutoring, health insurance premiums, counseling and other child-related extraordinary expenses.
Click here for North Carolina Child Support Worksheets.
In general, child support cases are straightforward. State guidelines only
apply to parents whose combined gross incomes are $300,000 or less
per year. Difficulties arise when parents are either self-employed, or when
combined income exceeds the $300,000 cap. When that happens, the parents can
either negotiate themselves what amounts are satisfactory to both parties,
or let the court decide what constitutes reasonable needs and appropriate
In North Carolina, gross income means income from all sources, and includes:
- Income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends and severance pay
- Pensions, interest, trust income, annuities and capital gains
- Social security benefits (with certain exceptions)
- Workers' compensation benefits
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Disability insurance benefits
- Veterans' benefits (with certain exceptions)
- Spousal support (when received from a third party)
- Rental income
- Gifts, prizes, or awards.
Child support payments continue until a child attains the age of majority (18 years). However, there are three instances in which child support could continue past the age of 18 years:
- If, at age 18, the child has not yet graduated from high school;
- If the supporting parent agrees, in writing, to continue support past age 18 (to assist the child during college, for example); or
- If the child, at age 18, is not mentally or physically capable of self-support.
The amount of support is set after the needs of the child and the
parents’ incomes are assessed through the use of specific state
guidelines. The paying parent must regularly make the ordered
payments. Failure to remain current with child support obligations
exposes the paying parent to significant penalties. Every state has
a Child Support Enforcement Agency. Along with the family court,
these agencies have the power to suspend professional or business
licenses, to take away driver's and recreational licenses, to
require the payment of future owed sums in advance, to intercept
income tax refunds, or to place non-paying parents in jail when
child support obligations are overdue.
Once support has been ordered, both parents have the right to request changes. Paying parents face a difficult time when making a request that support be reduced. Even if a paying parent's current income is insufficient to meet his or her child support obligations, a court may impute a higher earning capacity to the paying parent and order child support based on that higher earning power. Because of the specific state requirements involved in child support, parents can benefit from the advice and involvement of an experienced family law attorney when child support issues arise.
Our experienced North Carolina family law attorneys at Tash and Kurtz, PLLC are familiar with the complex issues of North Carolina child support laws. We strive to reach a just and fair agreement between our client and the opposing party whenever possible. If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached, we vigorously pursue and protect our client's rights in court. If you need an attorney for a North Carolina divorce or other family law matter, please contact us.
For more information on Child Support, please see our Child Support Frequently Asked Questions.