Often, child support matters wind up in court, and court employees—including judges and clerks—are not permitted to give individuals legal advice as to how they should proceed with the matter. An experienced Henderson child support lawyer can provide experience, guidance, advice, and assistance in all legal matters pertaining to child support in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s Child Support Laws
North Carolina’s Child Support Guidelines are the primary determining factor of the child support obligations of most parents in the state. These obligations are calculated using such factors as:
- The income of each parent
- The costs of child care
- The costs of the child’s health care
Additional factors involved in determining the child support obligations of each parent are additional financial resources possessed by one parent, such as bonuses, inheritances, investments, social security, or veterans benefits. The court will also consider any extraordinary needs of the child when determining support. It should be noted that parents who are separating can make alternative decisions pertaining to child support on their own and include those provisions in their separation agreement. As long as the agreement reflects the child’s best interests, the judge will generally incorporate it into the final order.
Child support is a separate issue than custody, and parents in Hendersonville are prohibited from withholding child support if the other parent is not allowing them to see the child. Child support orders cannot be modified for three years, unless there is a substantial change in the financial circumstances of at least one of the parents. Courts generally consider a 15 percent difference in the amount of child support ordered and the amount that would be ordered under current support guidelines, based on the parent’s income, to be a substantial change.
When Does a Child Support Obligation End in Hendersonville?
Parents are generally legally required to financially support their child until the child reaches the age of 18. However, in some cases this requirement may be extended to age 20 if the child has not yet graduated from high school. Parents are sometimes relieved of their support obligation if a child is legally emancipated before they reach age 18 or if they join the military before their 18th birthday. If the parent is in arrears when their child reaches the age of 18, they will be required to continue making payments in the same amount of the order until the arrears are paid.
Generally, parents who have an open child support enforcement (CSE) case are not required to go to court to terminate child support. However, those who are not the subject of a CSE case generally must file a motion with the court to terminate the order upon the child reaching the age of 18.
Parents who create their own child support agreement together can also make a determination to extend child support until their child graduates from college or can create provisions involving the continued support of a disabled child after the age of 18. Official, written agreements between the parents are legally binding.
Child Support Matters a Lawyer Can Help With
A Hendersonville child support lawyer can provide assistance with a number of issues pertaining to child support, in addition to legal advice. Some of the matters they may be able to assist with include:
- Helping parents who are separating to understand North Carolina’s child support laws and to calculate how much they will likely be ordered to pay in child support
- Helping separated parents design an agreement together that will account for child support without imposing the state’s standard guidelines
- Helping a parent undergo the legal process of enforcing an existing child support order if the other parent isn’t living up to their legal obligation
- Helping individuals to modify an existing child support order to reflect a substantial change in income
- Providing assistance to a parent whose ex-partner is seeking an outrageous amount of child support in order to punish them
- Protecting the legal rights of a parent who has had legal action taken against them related to child support enforcement
A child support lawyer has a deep understanding not only of North Carolina’s child support guidelines, but they also know the circumstances in which the court is permitted to deviate from the guidelines. They understand the various legal procedures that are used to modify existing child support orders, to seek child support, or to end a child support order.
Questions About Child Support? Contact King Law
As noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, approximately half of all children in the U.S. spend time in a single-parent home, placing them at significant risk of living in poverty. Child support has been found to substantially decrease this risk. While all parents in North Carolina are expected to financially support their children and the state generally believes that most parents are able to pay a certain percentage of their income for support, there are certainly circumstances when a fair and equitable support order requires consideration beyond the guidelines.
Whatever child support matter our clients are dealing with, an experienced Hendersonville child support lawyer from King Law can provide answers to your questions and explore the legal options that are available for you. For a consultation, please call us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.