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North Carolina child support guidelines and standards

In cases where a child’s parents live together, it can be fairly easy to calculate and divide child-care related expenses in a fair and reasonable manner. The process of accounting for a child’s financial and care needs can be more complicated, however, in instances where the child’s parents do not live together and/or are divorcing. Guidelines established by the state of North Carolina take several factors into consideration when determining how child support payments should be calculated and implemented.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina follows the income shares model for determining the percentage of parental income that should be taken into consideration when determining child support payments. The income shares model revolves around the idea that the child in question is entitled to child support equivalent to the proportion of parental income that would be provided if he or she lived in one household with both parents. Consequently, the combined incomes of both parents are used to calculate child support payments.

The North Carolina General Statutes provides comprehensive guidelines for the calculation and enforcement of child support orders in the state, and accounts for cases involving lower and higher income levels. While judges are advised to implement and enforce state child support guidelines uniformly, they are also instructed to deviate from general mandates when appropriate and applicable. For instance, the income of the noncustodial parent should be reviewed for his or her ability to pay child support, as well as maintain a minimum standard of living for him or herself. A minimum support order can be established in cases where the noncustodial parent’s income is below the federal poverty level. Conversely, judges are advised against using the standardized child support schedule in cases where the parents’ combined incomes exceed $25,000 per month.