How Child Support is Determined

How is child support determined in North Carolina? Child support is determined by using a set of guidelines called the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which are modified from time to time.

Custody Matters

Why does my custody schedule matter? First, before a court determines how much child support to award, the parties must inform the court of the current custody schedule. There are three different worksheets used by the Guidelines depending on the type of custody shared between the parties: Worksheet A is used where one parent has primary custody, Worksheet B is used for joint or shared custody, and Worksheet C is used when there is a split custody schedule.

How do you use the Guidelines?

Next, the monthly child support obligation is determined by factoring in the parties’ income, childcare costs, health insurance costs, extraordinary expenses, as well as a few other factors. If the parents have other children from different relationships, or if they are paying child support for another child, this can affect the child support amount.

When are the Guidelines not used?

As mentioned above, if the parents’ combined income is more than a set amount per year, then the court must deviate from the Guidelines.  This amount may change from time to time when the Guidelines are modified. In evaluating all of the evidence, the court must determine the reasonable needs of the child and the relative ability of each parent to provide support. These types of proceedings are much more involved and time consuming than a typical Guidelines case.


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