Both North and South Carolina have general child support guidelines that are used to calculate how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay. These guidelines are generally followed unless there are special circumstances that warrant a deviation from the guidelines.
These factors are the most important considerations when calculating child support payments:
- child custody arrangements
- gross income of the non-custodial parent
- special circumstances that require deviation from the guidelines
Non-Custodial Parents Must Pay Child Support
While both parents must provide for the child, it is assumed that the custodial parent is providing the child with the proper level of the support. In cases where one parent spends substantially more time with the child or children, it is usually easy to determine who the custodial parent is.
Other cases can be more complicated. If both parents have shared custody, this could impact the amount of child support payments that the non-custodial parent must pay. There can also be split custody arrangements, where each parent has physical custody of one or more children. In these circumstances, separate calculations are made for each child, and then offset to determine which parent must pay child support.
Whether you have primary physical custody or shared physical custody will depend on the number of nights your child lives with you during the year. However, the basic rule is that the non-custodial parent must pay child support.
The Gross Income Calculation
Your gross income includes almost every type of income from every source. There are a few exceptions for certain types of public assistance, but most other income is included. Your child support payment will be largely based on your gross income so that you can provide support for your child while still being able to support yourself.
If you are unemployed or underemployed, the court can impute income based on your earning potential. A court can consider your earning capacity, employment qualifications, and prevailing wages to determine how much you should be able to earn, and then calculate your child support based on this amount.
Special Circumstances That Warrant Deviation
You can ask the court to modify your child support obligations if you have special circumstances. This could include education expenses, debts, obligations to other children, or extraordinary medical expenses.
You can also try to negotiate a child support obligation agreement with your child’s other parent. This agreement can deviate from the North Carolina or South Carolina child support guidelines, but the court will still review it to make sure it is in your child’s best interests.
At King Law Office, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our 12 office locations, including Hendersonville, Marion, and Hickory.