How does North Carolina calculate child support?

| Jan 27, 2021 | Family Law |

North Carolina has established child support guidelines that determine each parent’s financial responsibility in a divorce. The court considers income, assets, the average cost of raising a child, the child’s special medical and educational needs, and other factors. 

Review the basics of child support in North Carolina to estimate the amount of court-ordered support. 

Income considerations

First, the guidelines review the gross income of both parents, which includes earnings and funds from all sources. Each parent must disclose his or her salary, wages, pension income, investment income, capital gains income and trust income. Disability, unemployment, workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits also count as gross income. 

The court will decrease gross income by certain expenses. These include public assistance and food benefits, child support for children from other relationships, Supplemental Security Income, and employer health insurance benefits. 

Custody considerations

Based on the parents’ combined gross income, the child support guidelines indicate the average monthly cost of raising a child. Generally, the court divides this amount between the parents proportionally based on income. However, the judge will also look at the number of overnights each parent has with the child each month. North Carolina has three child support worksheets parents can use to estimate their income. They should use a separate form for sole custody, joint custody and split custody (an arrangement in which one or more children lives with each parent most of the time). 

In addition to these factors, the court can adjust the child support award by the cost of child care and health insurance for the child.