Our goal at Atlantic Coast Law is to achieve a fair child support arrangement, since our ultimate priority is what is best for the children involved.
Establishing Child Support
Child support payments in North Carolina are based on a statutory formula. One factor taken into account in determining the amount of child support owed is the relative gross monthly income of both parties. Determining the gross income of a party can be difficult if the person is unemployed, underemployed, or receives irregular income (a parent who is self-employed or works on a contract basis). If a parent is “underemployed” or “unemployed” we may be able to petition the court to “impute” income to the non-working parent. This essentially gives the parent a boosted income for the purposes of calculating the amount of child support the parent would owe to the other parent. Be aware that imputation of income of a parent is based on whether that parent is voluntarily “underemployed” or “unemployed”.
Another factor considered in determining child support is whether there are any extraordinary expenses. These can include:
- Certain travel expenses
- Day-care and similar expenses
- Health insurance premiums
- Extra-curricular activities that the child/children are involved in
- Additional expenses for non-public school and education
How Do I Modify My Child Support Obligation?
After a parent is ordered to pay child support, there comes a time when a supporting parent may seek to pay less than their obligated amount, or a parent who is receiving child support may ask the court to increase the amount of support paid to them. To modify a child support obligation there must exist a substantial change in circumstances. Common “changes in circumstances” include:
- Changes in residential schedule
- Changes of the income of either parties
- The age of the children
Whether a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred is a fact-intensive analysis. Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney to learn whether you are eligible for a modification in child support.
How Do I Enforce Child Support Payments?
When a party fails to make payments for child support, or fails to make such payments on time, an attorney or the state can file an action to enforce the required payments. Such actions can include garnishment of wages (withholding of a portion of the party’s paycheck).