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Is child support in North Carolina a flat fee?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2024 | Family Law

Child support is an important aspect of family law. It is one way to ensure that children receive financial support from both parents, even after the parents’ separation or divorce.

In North Carolina, determining child support involves various factors but is not a flat fee.

Calculation methodology

Guidelines established by state law determine child support amounts. These guidelines consider factors such as the income of both parents, the number of children requiring support and any special needs or circumstances.

Income shares model

North Carolina uses an “income shares” model to determine child support payments. This model takes into account the income of both parents to estimate the amount of support needed to maintain the child’s standard of living if the parents were together. The parents divide the responsibility for support based on their incomes.

Deviation from guidelines

While the guidelines provide a framework for determining child support, deviations are possible under certain circumstances. Courts may consider factors such as extraordinary medical expenses, child care costs, educational needs or the child’s accustomed standard of living. Additionally, if a parent has significant income or assets, the court may adjust the support amount accordingly.

Modification and enforcement

Child support orders in North Carolina can change if there is a substantial adjustment in circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in income for either parent. Enforcement mechanisms include wage garnishment, property liens and driver’s license suspension for nonpayment.

The goal of North Carolina’s child support system is to ensure that children receive the financial support they need to thrive, regardless of their parents’ marital status. By using an income shares model and considering various factors, the state aims to establish fair and equitable support arrangements that prioritize the well-being of the child.