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How do you know how much child support to pay after divorcing?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2021 | Divorce

If you and your spouse divorce, you likely will divide your time with your children between yourselves as equally as you can. You should know that one of you will likely also have to pay support.

Even with a joint custody arrangement, one parent does usually end up paying child support to the other parent. How the support is determined is based on several factors. While the calculation may seem simple, there are many things to consider when deciding how much support is the right amount.

North Carolina’s child support guidelines

North Carolina’s child support guidelines state that there is always a minimum child support obligation regardless of what a parent earns. The minimum that can be paid monthly is $50. For people who earn $1,108 or more monthly, adjustments will be made to increase that support as is necessary.

The amount of child support paid is usually based on the gross income as reported on a federal income tax return. Items such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or Electronic Food and Nutrition Benefits are not usually included in income when calculating support obligations.

Some factors that might affect the calculation of support include:

  • The parents’ earnings
  • The cost of reasonable child care
  • The cost of health insurance for the child

Looking at the North Carolina Schedule of Basic Support Obligations, you’ll see that a person earning 1,800 monthly (adjusted gross income) will pay $338 for a single child. Comparatively, someone who earns $3,000 per month would pay $542.

North Carolina’s child support guidelines aren’t always applicable

Keep in mind that the guidelines aren’t always applicable. When a family is wealthy and earns above $30,000 monthly, the court will determine the amount of child support owed based on the child’s educational, maintenance and health needs. Basically, the reasonable needs of the child will have to be determined, and then a value will be assigned to that need.

Child support calculations can be complex. If you’re not sure what to expect in court, you may want to review the state’s schedule and consider options for working out a reasonable support amount each month.

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