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Child Support is governed by the statutes which provide that the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines shall be used as the rebuttable presumption when a child support calculation is made. Simply put, this means that most cases in North Carolina involving child support will be calculated using the child support guidelines. Other cases will deviate from the guidelines if the Court finds that using the guidelines is not appropriate. View the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and tables.
Child support is calculated pursuant to the guidelines by factoring in each parent’s gross monthly income from all sources, the number of children the child support calculation provides for, the number of overnights each child spends with each parent (to determine whether your calculation will be made on a Worksheet A, Worksheet B, or Worksheet C), whether either parent has another child for whom he or she is responsible for supporting, payment of health insurance premiums for the children, work-related child care costs, and other extraordinary expenses. As you can see, there are a number of factors that must be considered in the guideline calculation.
Once a child support calculation has been made, the timing and method of payment must also be taken into account. Payments can be made monthly, weekly, bi-monthly, or otherwise to match up with the payor’s paycheck timing. The Court can also consider whether payments should be made via wage-withholding, direct deposit, or by other means.
Generally speaking, child support is not taxable by the receiving parent as income, and is not tax-deductible by the parent paying child support.
If you have been paying or receiving child support from a Separation Agreement or other out-of-court settlement, you have the right to ask the Court to change your child support payments. In those cases, the Court will consider whether the amount of child support being paid is reasonable in light of the child support guideline calculation.
If you have not been receiving child support from your child’s other parent, you may be able to make a claim for retroactive child support. The Court can consider how much child support should have been paid under the guidelines when making a retroactive child support award.
Modification of Child Support
Either parent in a child support case can ask the Court to modify the child support payments. The Court must find that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the entry of the previous child support order. If at least three (3) years have passed since the previous order was entered, and a new calculation of child support shows a difference of 15% or more between the old child support amount and the new amount, a substantial change in circumstances is presumed.
In other cases when three (3) years have not passed since the previous order was entered, a substantial change in circumstances can be shown when any of the factors that go in to a child support calculation change–that being either parent’s gross monthly income, responsibility for other children, change in the child custody schedule, new amounts for health insurance premiums or work related child care expenses, as well as extraordinary expenses.