Charlotte Child Support Lawyer

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Charlotte Child Support Lawyer

Child support is often one of the most contentious issues that comes up during divorce negotiations or any other kind of legal dispute between co-parents of the same child. While state law is fairly specific about the guidelines and rules that apply to child support determinations, there are several ways you can advocate for a different resolution to your case, compared to the solutions state law would typically suggest.

Guidance from a seasoned family attorney can make a huge difference in your chances of getting the outcome you want from your child support proceedings. Once retained, a knowledgeable Charlotte child support lawyer could explain all your rights, help you construct a strong case in favor of your preferred support arrangement, and work diligently on your behalf to protect your best interests. En Español

How State Law Addresses Child Support Obligations

Under state law, both parents are responsible for the financial support of their children. The specific breakdown of each parent’s obligation is based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and many other factors, such as income, number of children, health insurance, childcare costs, custodial schedule, and other expenses.

The Courts have little discretion in determining the child support amount that is appropriate, so in the vast majority of child support cases, the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines will be used to calculate the child support amount required to be paid. However, there are special situations under which a party may apply for a deviation from the guidelines and where the Court can set the child support at an amount not consistent with the state’s Child Support Guidelines.

More specifically, parties can ask for a deviation when there are special situations regarding the child and if the application of the state’s Child Support Guidelines would not meet or would exceed a child’s reasonable needs considering the relative ability of each parent to provide support or would be unjust or inappropriate given the circumstances. In Child Support cases, the judge overseeing the case also has the authority to grant attorney’s fees to parties.

Basic Elements of the Child Support Formula

There are two main factors that go into determining the amount of child support each of a child’s parents must provide for that child: what sort of custody split the two parents have and what each parent’s gross income is. Generally, the non-custodial parent—meaning the parent who is considered not to be the child’s primary caregiver—will make support payments based on this calculation to the custodial parent, and the exact amount of support they may owe can change somewhat depending on whether the custodial parent has sole custody, shared custody, or split custody of the child.

For the purposes of calculating child support requirements, “gross income” includes all sources of income each parent has, including wages or salary, bonuses and commissions, severance pay, capital gains, and even things like Social Security and/or unemployment benefits. There are a few sources of income that can legally be excluded from gross income, such as Supplemental Security Income, but a parent who deliberately remains unemployed or underemployed in an attempt to minimize their financial obligations may have income “imputed” upon them.

If you need further clarification about the state’s child support formula, a dedicated Charlotte lawyer could answer questions during a consultation.

How Long Do Child Support Obligations Last?

As a general rule, parents in North Carolina are required by law to financially support their children until those children turn 18 years old, or until those children turn 20 if they are still in high school. While financial support is not strictly required for children attending college or university, parents can use their divorce, separation agreement, or something known as a consent order to formally extend support obligations until a child’s college graduation. An experienced Charlotte attorney could help with this aspect of child support.

It is also worth noting that child support obligations may end before a child turns 18 if that child joins the U.S. military, gets married, or is officially emancipated from their parent(s) through a court order before their 18th birthday.

Get in Touch with a Charlotte Child Support Attorney Today

It is important that you have your child support at the correct amount to ensure that your child is sufficiently cared for and that you are able to sustain the child support amount financially, as well. Neglecting your child support obligations can lead to severe legal consequences, including a court order to pay child support arrears or the requirement to pay attorney’s fees.

Oftentimes, our family law attorneys can negotiate child support amounts that are more beneficial than just a set amount by the Court and can even include provisions in a Consent Order that the Judge does not have the power to rule on. To make sure you are paying or receiving the correct child support amount, reach out to a Charlotte child support lawyer today and set up your initial consultation.

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