Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”
If you have children and are facing a divorce, you likely want to understand more about the child support system and how it works in North Carolina. Given that many people only go through a divorce once, this will likely be your first rodeo and, as a result, you may have a lot of questions. To better understand child support and how it works in North Carolina, keep reading.
How is child support determined?
In the vast majority of states, and North Carolina is no exception, child support payments are determined by guidelines. This means that you don’t need to worry about unfair awards, for example, a judge disliking you and ordering you to pay an astronomical sum just because he or she can. Child support payments are intended to be fair and are arrived at using formulas that apply to everyone, across the board.
So what factors go into calculating child support? The guidelines weigh the income of both parents against the amount of time he or she will spend caring for the children. Beyond these general factors, the guidelines can also take into account things like child care expenses, educational costs, expenses associated with caring for children with special needs, healthcare and health insurance expenses.
Does everyone pay support?
Yes, everyone is required to pay support. It doesn’t matter if your income is low or if you don’t have visitation with the kids. No excuse will allow you to avoid supporting your children.
Can you waive support?
No, the clear answer here is that a parent cannot waive child support. The reason is that child support is something that is meant to help the child, not the parent. As a result, only the child could waive the support, something that is not allowed under the law. That means no matter how friendly the parents are with one another, child support is still an issue that must be taken into consideration.
Minimum and maximum
Believe it or not, the North Carolina child support guidelines address the issue of incomes that are either on the very low or very high end. The most recent guidelines say that parents should be allowed sufficient income to maintain a standard of living based on the federal poverty level. That means that low income individuals will not be required to make large child support payments if doing so would leave them with no money of their own to live on. The guidelines say that for those with adjusted gross monthly income of less than $1,097, the guidelines require a minimum support order of $50. Though this will be of negligible impact on the child receiving the support, it’s a way of ensuring that all parents take some financial responsibility, no matter how small, for their children.
The maximum only comes into play when the parents’ combined adjusted gross income is more than $25,000 per month (or $300,000 per year). When income exceeds this threshold, the normal child support schedule is maxed out. In cases involving very high incomes, courts will need to set the award on their own, ensuring that the amount of the award meets the reasonable needs of the child.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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