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Self Support Reserve Addressed in Child Support Calculation by North Carolina Court of Appeals

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines provide for a self support reserve. Meaning that, for parents who have an income below a certain threshhold, the formula works differently. On the chart of incomes in the child support guidelines, those with incomes below that threshhold will fall into the “shaded area.” of the chart. Under the guidelines, absent a deviation, the lowest monthly child support obligation that a parent can have is $50 per month.

In the recently decided case of Allen vs. Allen, the North Carolina Court of Appeals addressed a number of issues. One of the issues addressed in this case was the proper application of the self support reserve. In this case, the mother was ordered by the trial court to contribute toward the children’s private school tuition.

Ultimately, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling and held that, while the mother’s income did fall within the shaded area and child care and health insurance premiums are therefore not included in the calculation, the mother’s obligation for the children’s extraordinary expenses is unaffected by her low income.