Child Support relates to the amount of money or benefits that is, or will be, paid by a parent (or a parent’s spouse)on a monthly basis as well as the cost of health (medical, or medical and dental) insurance for the children for whom support is being paid. North Carolina utilizes Child Support Guidelines. Please keep in mind that guidelines differ from state to state.
Payments that are made by a parent’s (or stepparent’s) employer for health insurance and are not deducted from the parent’s (or stepparent’s) wages are not included. When a child for whom support is being determined is covered by a family policy, only the health insurance premium actually attributable to that child is added. If this amount is not available or cannot be verified, the total cost of the premium is divided by the total number of persons covered by the policy and then multiplied by the number of covered children for whom support is being determined.
The court may order that uninsured medical or dental expenses in excess of $250 per year or other uninsured health care costs (including reasonable and necessary costs related to orthodontia, dental care, asthma treatments, physical therapy, treatment of chronic health problems, and counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders) be paid by either parent or both parents in such proportion as the court deems appropriate.
The court may order either parent to obtain and maintain health (medical or medical and dental) insurance coverage for a child if it is actually and currently available to the parent at a reasonable cost. Health insurance is considered reasonable in cost if it is employment related or other group health insurance, regardless of delivery mechanism. If health insurance is not actually and currently available to a parent at a reasonable cost at the time the court orders child support, the court may enter an order requiring the parent to obtain and maintain health insurance for a child if and when the parent has access to reasonably-priced health insurance for the child.
Extraordinary Child Support Expenses In NC
Other extraordinary child-related expenses (including 1. expenses related to special or private elementary or secondary schools to meet a child’s particular educational needs, and 2. expenses for transporting the child between the parents’ homes) may be added to the basic child support obligation and ordered paid by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes if the court determines the expenses are reasonable, necessary, and in the child’s best interest.
Child Support Worksheets
A parent’s presumptive child support obligation under the guidelines must be determined using one of the NC child support worksheets.
The child support worksheets include the incomes of both parents, regardless of whether one parent is seeking child support from the other parent or a third party is seeking child support from one or both parents. The child support worksheets may not be used to calculate the child support obligation of a stepparent or other party who is secondarily liable for child support. You also do not include the income of an individual who is not the parent of a child for whom support is being determined on the worksheets.
The calculation of child support is governed by North Carolina Child Support Guidelines established by the Conference of Chief District Court Judges. To view the copyrighted version of the worksheets or other forms, visit the web site.
General Rules Governing Child Support Modification
The calculation of child support involves the use of a formula which has certain variables. The most significant variables are each party’s income, daycare expenses, the cost of medical insurance, and the living arrangements of the children.
Child Care Costs
Reasonable child care costs that are, or will be, paid by a parent due to employment or job search are added to the basic child support obligation and prorated when the gross monthly income of the parent, paying child care costs falls below the amounts indicated below, 100% of the childcare costs are added.
At these income levels, the parent who pays childcare costs does not benefit from the tax credit for childcare. When the income of the parent who pays child care costs exceeds the amounts indicated above, only 75% of actual child care costs are added (because the parent is entitled to the income tax credit for child care expenses).
- 1 child = $1,100
- 2 children = $1,500
- 3 children = $1,700
- 4 children = $1,900
- 5 children = $2,100
- 6 children = $2,300
Use Worksheet A when one parent (or a third party) has primary physical custody of all of the children for whom support is being determined.
A parent (or third party) has primary physical custody of a child if the child lives with that parent (or custodian) for at least 243 nights during the year. Primary physical custody is determined without regard to whether a parent has primary, shared, or joint legal custody of a child. Do not use Worksheet A when (a) a parent has primary custody of one or more children and the parents share custody of one or more children [instead, use Worksheet B] or (b) when primary custody of two or more children is split between the parents [instead, use Worksheet C]. In child support cases involving primary physical custody, a child support obligation is calculated for both parents but the court enters an order requiring the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child to pay child support to the parent or other party who has primary physical custody of the child.
Use Worksheet B in Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico County when (a) the parents share custody of all of the children for whom support is being determined, or (b) when one parent has primary physical custody of one or more of the children and the parents share custody of another child.
Parents share custody of a child if the child lives with each parent for at least 123 nights during the year and each parent assumes financial responsibility for the child’s expenses during the time the child lives with that parent. A parent does not have shared custody of a child when that parent has visitation rights that allow the child to spend less than 123 nights per year with the parent and the other parent has primary physical custody of the child. Shared custody is determined without regard to whether a parent has primary, shared, or joint legal custody of a child. Do not apply the self-sufficiency reserve incorporated into the shaded area of the schedule when using Worksheet B.
In cases involving shared custody, the parents’ combined basic support obligation is increased by 50% (multiplied by 1.5) and is allocated between the parents based on their respective incomes and the amount of time the children live with the other parent. The adjustment based on the amount of time the children live with the other parent is calculated for all of the children regardless of whether a parent has primary, shared, or split custody of a child. After child support obligations are calculated for both parents, the parent with the higher child support obligation is ordered to pay the difference between his or her presumptive child support obligation and the other parent’s presumptive child support obligation.
Split custody refers to cases in which one parent has primary custody of at least one of the children for whom support is being determined and the other parent has primary custody of the other child or children. Do not use Worksheet C when the parents share custody of one or more of the children and have primary physical custody or split custody of another child [instead, use Worksheet B]. The parents’ combined basic support obligation is allocated between the parents based on their respective incomes and the number of children living with each parent. After child support obligations are calculated for both parents, the parent with the higher child support obligation is ordered to pay the difference between his or her presumptive child support obligation and the other parent’s presumptive child support obligation. Do not apply the self-sufficiency reserve incorporated into the shaded area of the schedule when using Worksheet C.
Modification Of Child Support Orders
In a proceeding to modify the amount of child support payable under a child support order that was entered at least three years before the pending motion to modify was filed, a difference of 15% or more between the amount of child support payable under the existing order and the amount of child support resulting from application of the guidelines based on the parents’ current incomes and circumstances shall be presumed to constitute a substantial change of circumstances warranting modification of the existing child support order.
The attorneys at Schulz Stephenson Law have over 25 years of experience dealing with child support issues, and whether you are a person expecting to pay support, or a person expecting to receive support, we can assist you with your support matter. Call us at (252) 728-7300 for a consultation at your earliest convenience.