Child Support AttorneyIn North Carolina, parents are jointly responsible for the financial needs of their children. This responsibility is distinct from any post separation support or alimony obligations that a parent may have to a former spouse. The amount of child support a child to be paid depends on the reasonable needs of the child and the circumstances of the parents.
North Carolina developed child support worksheets that help to establish a presumptive child support obligation for parents based on the factors listed above. However, the parties may agree to an alternative arrangement in regard to what amount of child support should be paid per month. These obligations are typically closely connected to the child custody arrangement that the parties have in place.
What if I don’t think the amount on the worksheet is fair?
North Carolina’s child support guidelines act as a rebuttable presumption as it relates to child support matters. This means that the guidelines apply unless the Court finds a good reason not to apply them in a particular case. In order to deviate from the presumptive guidelines, the Court would need to make findings of fact about the reasonable needs of the child(ren) and each parent’s ability to provide support to the minor child(ren). If the court determines that the presumptive guidelines would not meet, or would exceed, the reasonable needs of the child, the court may choose to deviate.
If the mother/father of the child fails to pay child support, does that mean I do not have to allow them to spend time with the child(ren)?
No. Failure to pay child support, in and of itself, does not permit a parent to withhold visitation of the minor child(ren) with the other parent.
What if I’m not receiving child support as ordered?
Parties have the ability to enforce a child support order through the contempt powers of the Court. Upon the non-payment of support, a party may elect to file a Motion for an order to show cause. If the court elects to issue an order to show cause, then the party not complying with his or her child support obligation will be forced to appear in court to explain to a judge why they are not fulfilling their obligation. If that party is found to be in willful violation of the court’s order, a court may find that parent to be in civil or criminal contempt.
Can I modify an existing child support order?
Yes. Parties may elect to file a motion to modify an existing child support obligation with the court. Typically, a court requires that a substantial change of circumstances have occurred before modifying an existing order. If the court finds that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, the court may hear evidence related to the relevant factors to determine if a modification of the child support obligation is warranted.
Do I have to pay child support if I am not listed on the child’s birth certificate?
Maybe. It will depend largely on whether paternity for the child in question has been established by the court or formally acknowledged by the biological father.
If you have questions about your child(ren)’s right to child support, give one of our experienced family law attorneys a call at 336-379-0539 to set up a consultation to discuss whether the circumstances may warrant a modification to change an existing order or whether there is a basis to establish a child support order for your minor child(ren).