Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”
When parents divorce, they are generally both responsible for providing care for their children. Both parents have rights and responsibilities for their children until they become adults. There are a number of criteria that are used to calculate the amount of child support that each parent is to provide. North Carolina uses guidelines that calculate the amount of payments that parents must pay towards their child’s care. A helpful worksheet on the North Carolina Division of Social Services Child Support Services website can give you a better understanding of how calculations will be made.
Calculating Child Support in North Carolina
All states, including North Carolina, have guidelines in place to assist judges in setting child support. There are many factors that a judge considers when deciding how much child support is appropriate. North Carolina utilizes a worksheet that helps calculate child support payments.
- Gross Income – The gross income of both parents is utilized as a determining factor in setting child support. Income includes salary, bonuses, gifts, alimony, dividends, and more.
- Costs of Child Care – The costs that parents must spend for child care services while at work. Child care costs may be from any caregiver such as child care facilities, babysitters, nannies, and daycare camps.
- Health Insurance – The out-of-pocket costs for providing health insurance and health care for children is taken into consideration when calculating child support payments.
- Overnight Stays – The number of nights a child spends with each parent will help determine how much support should be paid. Often parents share physical custody. A parent is a primary custodial parent when a child spends more than 243 nights a year.
- Extraordinary Expenses – Some other expenses will be considered when calculating child support. Some of these expenses include such things as private school costs, special education needs, and costs associated with the needs of a child with disabilities.
What is Not Considered in Determining Child Support?
In North Carolina, the guidelines take regular expenses into consideration in the formula they use for calculating child support. Therefore, the costs of things such as home rental or mortgage payments, utilities and auto loan payments are not utilized when calculating the costs of child support under the guidelines. Child support is designed to be specifically for the expenses directly related to a child’s needs. The worksheet will provide you with a general starting place for how child support will be calculated. However, there can be deviations from the recommendations gathered through the worksheet.
Deviations to Support Guidelines
A deviation is a change to the standard guidelines based on the calculations in the worksheet. The judge in North Carolina has the ability to make deviations from the child support guidelines as they see fit. Each case is unique and therefore, the judge can review the matter to decide whether the amount of support is correct in every situation. A deviation may be made to reduce or increase the child support according to the factors of the case. The goal is to ensure that the child will be properly cared for by both parents following a divorce.
To learn more about child support and for answers to your divorce questions, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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