Child support can be a confusing and costly matter between non-married parents. It is important to seek help from a lawyer if you are facing a possible support determination or if you are having trouble making payments.
Child support is an inherent part of any child-related legal matter. Whether you have a paternity case, a divorce, or another case involving child custody determinations, the family court will certainly address the matter of child support. While the following are some things you should know about child support in North Carolina, it is always important to have an attorney on your side during this process, advising you on your specific case.
1. Child Support Is A Separate Order From Child Custody
While child custody arrangements do factor into child support decisions, these are separate court orders. If one parent is refusing to allow you to have proper visitation or custody of your child, you cannot use that as the basis to stop paying child support. Similarly, if you need to change your custody order, your child support order will not automatically be modified, as that will require a separate request from the court.
2. Most Child Support Orders Follow State Guidelines
North Carolina has guidelines for calculating child support, which factor in the income of each parent, custody arrangements, and more. The majority of cases will follow these guidelines, so an attorney can give you an idea of what your child support should be ahead of time. In special circumstances, such as when a family has high income and assets, the judge might deviate from the guidelines if needed to meet the needs of the child.
3. Income Of A New Spouse Is Not Usually Considered
If a divorced parent who is paying child support gets remarried, their household income might increase significantly. The parent receiving support might think it’s only fair for the payor to increase their support based on the new household income. However, this is not how the law sees it in North Carolina, since the new spouse is not a parent of the child and, therefore, not responsible for the child’s financial support. This is true even if the new spouse earns substantially more than the parent.
4. Failing To Pay Enough Child Support Can Have Consequences
We can all face financial stress, and if your budget is tight one month, it might seem fine to forego or delay your child support payment. However, the parent receiving support can seek enforcement efforts from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) or the court that issued the support order. Some enforcement efforts might include:
- Withholding support from your paycheck
- Withholding support from benefit payments
- Reporting nonpayment to credit bureaus
- Interception of tax refunds
- Liability for court costs for child support cases
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Misdemeanor criminal charges
It is best to ensure you have a fair order upfront or request a modification of your order instead of missing payments.
Contact A Charlotte Child Support Law Firm For Help
At Blood Law, our Charlotte lawyers help with all types of support cases. Contact us online or call (704) 286-0570 if you need assistance today.