The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines

The North Carolina legislature, like many other states, have created a Guideline calculation to determine each parent’s financial obligation in support of their minor children. Most people know this calculation as its commonly used term, Child Support.

These North Carolina Child Support Guidelines include a presumptive calculation based upon a set of factors which include: each parent’s gross monthly income; the cost of health, dental, and vision insurance coverage for the children; the work-related daycare expenses of each parent; the number of overnights each parent has with the children; support for any other children not a part of the action; and any extraordinary expenses. As stated in the Guidelines, this presumptive calculation is intended to provide adequate awards of Child Support that are equitable to the child and to both of the child’s parents and a Guideline Child Support award is conclusively presumed to meet the reasonable needs of a child considering the relative ability of each parent to provide financial support for the child.

A parent may argue that the North Carolina Child Support Guideline calculation does not meet the reasonable needs and expenses of a child, either because the calculated child support award is too large or because the child support award is not large enough. Such request is called a “deviation” and parent making a request to deviate has the burden to show by the greater weight of the evidence that application of the Guidelines would not meet, or would exceed, the reasonable needs and expenses of the child considering the relative ability of each parent to provide support or would be otherwise unjust or inappropriate.

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines also include rules on the nuances of child support for such issues as retroactive support, case with very high or very low incomes, and what types of income are or are not included in the Guideline calculations.

As with most laws and regulations, the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines occasionally need to be updated to adjust for inflation and other broad socio-economic changes that occur over time. Per statute, the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines must be revisited at least once every four years by the North Carolina Conference of Chief District Court Judges. The last change occurred in 2015, which a new presumptive Guideline amount established effective January 1, 2015.

While the Guidelines might not apply perfectly in every case, they are an attempt to provide a set standard for Judges and practitioners across the State to determine an appropriate amount of Child Support depending on the varying circumstances of every case. If you have questions about the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and how they apply to your case, please contact us at: (704) 810-1400.

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