Experienced Child Support Attorneys
Both parents are required to provide for the financial support of their child and either parent may be ordered to pay child support. The goal is to keep the children in the same quality of lifestyle that they would have experienced had the divorce not taken place.
North Carolina has state-mandated guidelines that use a mathematical formula to calculate how much child support is owed. These guidelines are updated by the conference of chief district court judges every four years. The formulas use each parent’s gross monthly income, health care expenses, work-related child care expenses, and other necessary extraordinary expenses to calculate the appropriate amount of support. Judges may deviate from the Guidelines when the parties earn above a certain amount, below a certain amount, or if a good reason shows why deviation is necessary.
What expenses are the child support payments supposed to cover?
Child support payments are intended to be in an amount that will meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, and take into consideration each parent’s income, assets, conditions, accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties, the child care and homemaker contributions of each party, and other facts of the particular case. Be aware that when a child is in the care of the parent who pays child support, the parent is expected to pay for expenses associated with the child; a parent cannot disregard the child’s needs with a dismissive, “That’s what I pay your mother/father child support for.”
If I lose my job or my income changes, can I reduce my child support payments?
Among other reasons, child support can be revisited if either party’s income changes by 15% or more.
If my ex-spouse remarries, do I have to keep paying the same amount of child support?
The responsibility for paying for your children’s needs is still yours and your former spouse’s. Your ex’s new spouse is not obligated to support your child. However, if your ex-spouse’s income changes by more than 15% (up or down), then child support can be revisited through the courts.
My ex-spouse has not paid child support for the last 3 months. Can I withhold visitation until I am paid the amount due?
No. If you withhold visitation because an ex-spouse will not pay his or her child support, you are taking the law into your own hands and may be held in contempt of court, which can include jail time. If your spouse will not pay child support, you should see an attorney who will advise you on how to recover the lost child support payments and to ensure that your spouse continues to make timely payments in the future.
My spouse has been refusing to allow me to see my children despite our visitation agreement. Can I withhold child support until I am allowed to see the kids?
No. According to North Carolina law, child support payments aren’t tied to visitation privileges. Though it may be easy to confuse the two, legal counsel should be sought prior to restricting visitation rights. Punishment of the other parent by restricting their visitation to the child may impair the child’s welfare and subject the custodial parent to be held in Contempt of Court for violations of any existing custody and visitation order (including jail time). Contact your attorney for more information.
What can I do if my ex-spouse refuses to pay child support?
If your ex-spouse has been ordered to pay child support and fails to do so, you can ask the court to hold your ex-spouse in contempt of court. If your ex-spouse is found to be in contempt, your ex-spouse could be imprisoned. Another available remedy is to garnish his/her wages, where your ex’s employer deducts money from his/her paycheck and pays you directly.
This website contains general information about common family law and criminal law matters in North Carolina. However, please remember that every criminal, traffic, divorce or family law case is different. Websites are no substitute for genuine legal advice from an attorney and the information here may not apply to your specific case.
Written By: John McNeil