Charlotte Child Support Lawyer
In the State of North Carolina, child support is usually calculated utilizing the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and the associated child support calculator. Specifically, and assuming you and the other party have a combined gross income of less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.00 USD) per month (which applies to most of us!), then the Guidelines will apply. As an aside, it is worth mentioning at this point that child support is the only aspect of family law in the State of North Carolina whereby there is a “chart” to assist you in calculating your obligation. In other words, despite what people will tell you, or what you may Google, there is no chart which can definitively help you calculate an alimony obligation, or how marital property should be divided.
Custody and Child Support in North Carolina
Assuming the Guidelines apply, the first step will be to determine whether you should be on a "Worksheet A" or "Worksheet B" for the purposes of calculating child support. In short, you are on a "Worksheet A" if one party has primary physical custody of the child(ren). You are on a "Worksheet B" if you share physical custody of the child(ren).
How do you know this? Well, if one parent has less than one hundred and twenty-three (123) overnights (not daytime visits), then you will utilize "Worksheet A," but if both parents each have more than one hundred and twenty-three (123) overnights, then you are on "Worksheet B." And as a general rule, the child support obligation of the paying party will be greater when child support is calculated on "Worksheet A" than it would be when utilizing a "Worksheet B." As such, the unfortunate result is that we often find that parents seek to negotiate for more overnights with their child (ren) merely to attempt to reduce his/her child support obligation!
How Income Affects Child Support
The next step requires that we determine the gross monthly income of each party and plug those figures into either "Worksheet A" or 'Worksheet B" (which will have already have been predetermined based upon the custodial overnights as discussed above), with gross income meaning all income which a party earns from their employment, disability payments, alimony payments, severance payments, recurring gifts, etc. A full listing of what should be included in your gross monthly income can be found within the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
Once these amounts are determined and/or agreed upon, they will be input into the child support calculator. Please bear in mind at this point that unlike the analysis which is applied to the calculation of alimony, there is absolutely no accommodation in the realm of child support for your expenses. Rather, all that matters in the calculation of child support is your gross monthly income.
The final steps in utilizing the child support calculator will require that you determine whether an input should be made for a parent who pays a monthly health insurance premium on behalf of the minor child(ren) and whether there are any "extraordinary expenses" which should be included on the child support calculator.
As to the issue of the health insurance premium, it is important to remember that you must decipher how much of the pre-tax health insurance premium is related to the child(ren). In other words, if you have $400.00 per month deducted from your paycheck for health insurance, it would be wrong to include this entire amount on the child support calculator as the $400.00 per month presumably covers both you and your child(ren). As to "extraordinary expenses," these types of credits on the child support calculator, on behalf of one or the other of the parents, usually involves a monthly amount which is paid toward private school, or monthly costs and expenses associated with the travel and care associated with addressing a child's serious medical condition. A full listing of what may be considered as an "extraordinary expense" can be found within the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
For Families Who Are “Off the Guidelines”
Finally, as we mentioned at the outset, there is the possibility that you and the other party have a combined gross income of more than $30,000.00 USD per month. In that event, those of us who practice family law say that "you are off the guidelines." So what happens then? Well, in this event careful attention is paid to the actual and reasonable needs and expenses of the child(ren) which are incurred by the parents on a monthly basis. Consequently, the child support obligation will not be based upon a child support calculator, but rather, it will be custom tailored to the needs and expenses associated with that particular family.
To determine your potential child support obligation, we recommend that you utilize the Child Support Calculator in association with the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The calculation of your potential child support obligation involves the use of a formula which requires the input of certain variables, including but not limited to each party's gross monthly income, the monthly work-related child care expenses incurred by either parent, the monthly cost of medical insurance premiums for the child (or children), and an estimation of the overnights spent with each parent.
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