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Divorce: What You Need to Know about Child Support

A lot of the questions many people have about divorce surround child support. Who is going to pay for what?

In North Carolina, money for children after divorce is governed by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines [1], which are created by the Conference of Chief District Judges. These guidelines provide direction regarding the amount of money that is presumed to be in a child’s best interests.

child support keyboard [2]

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The amount of child support you or your spouse pay depends on how much time the children spend with each parent. This will be worked out during your divorce process. Many people worry that the other spouse won’t pay child support as agreed. While this sometimes happens, the law provides ways to enforce payment and you can certainly ask your attorney how to do so.

Here are the answers to some other common questions:

How is child support determined?
The Guidelines [1] consider both parents’ gross incomes, the cost of health insurance for the child, the cost of work-related childcare, and in some cases, additional extraordinary expenses. In some circumstances, the North Carolina guidelines should not apply. If that happens, then the specific financial needs of the child and relative ability of the parents to pay support are used to determine the appropriate level of support.

If I have custody will I receive child support payments?
The amount of physical custody a parent has does affect the amount of child support received or paid. When a child resides with each parent for at least 123 nights per year, the child support obligation is adjusted to account for this custodial arrangement.

How are healthcare expenses paid?
In some circumstances, parents can agree on how to pay a child’s uninsured or unreimbursed healthcare expenses in any way they desire. In the absence of an agreement, the expenses are divided in some proportion between the two parents, ranging from equal payment to each parent paying a percentage of the child’s healthcare expenses in proportion to his or her respective gross income.

Who can claim the child dependency exemptions for the children?
Outside of an agreement or order otherwise, the Internal Revenue Code states that the parent who has the child for the majority of overnights throughout a calendar year should claim the exemptions. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines [1] presuppose that the parent who is receiving that money ought to claim those exemptions.

More information:

Try this child support calculator [4] to get an idea of how much you or your spouse might pay. Or get your other child support questions answered during our next Second Saturday Divorce Workshop.

Thanks to Second Saturday [5] advocate Smith Debnam [6] for the information provided in this post.