What Are the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines?
Child support in most North Carolina cases is calculated according to a set of presumptive guidelines. These rules are intended to provide a reasonable and appropriate amount of support for the child or children. Section 50-13.4 of the North Carolina General Statutes requires the guidelines to be reviewed at least every four years. The purpose of this review is to ensure that application of the child support guidelines results in appropriate orders. North Carolina’s child support guidelines apply to temporary and permanent orders, as well as to retroactive support.
The guidelines take several factors into consideration. Both parents’ gross incomes from any source, including self-employment, are used in the calculation. Although the definition of “income” is broad, benefits from certain public assistance programs are excluded. A court may consider potential, instead of actual, income if a parent is attempting to avoid paying child support. This usually occurs in the case of unemployment or unemployment and assumes a parent has the ability to work.
The number of children the parents have, including children from other relationships, figures into the calculation. The child support guidelines also account for the number of overnights each parent has with the child or children. Primary and joint custody arrangements between the parents will determine which of three worksheets to use. If a parent is already paying child support in another matter, that will also be considered.
A parent should document expenses for a child’s health care, health insurance, and reasonable child care. These costs are taken into consideration by the judge. Other extraordinary expenses for the child are also covered by the child support guidelines.