A divorce is an emotional experience and the more informed that you are about the various issues surrounding the process, the better your outcome will be. It also helps to understand the law, so that you can prepare your questions for discussion with your family law attorney.
When a couple is discussing a separation or divorce, they must give primary consideration to the well-being of their children. Whatever disagreements the couple may have, they usually can agree that they want their children to experience as little change as possible in their lives and routine.
Hopefully, parents can agree upon the important issues that require compromise in order to create as amicable an arrangement as possible. One of the main decisions is…who is going to provide the financial support for the care, health and education of the children?
If parents can come to a mutually satisfactory decision on this topic, that is the ideal situation.
Many times, however, it is not that easy. Couples have various responsibilities as parents and the family’s income is sometimes generated more from the earnings of one parent than the other. It would seem obvious that some arrangement could be agreed upon with a bit of compromise on both sides.
When that is not possible, it may be necessary to turn to the guidelines provided by the state of North Carolina.
What is covered by the Child Support Guidelines of NC?
These guidelines address most areas of responsibility for the children’s welfare, such as health care, child care and education costs, usually by pro-rating the required amount based upon the income of each parent. There are also schedules showing the basic financial obligation for each parent, determined by income and number of children involved. These schedules are used when the court has ordered child support because no agreement has been finalized by the parents. They are also the source upon which the legal system will rely, in cases of criminal or juvenile proceedings or in civil domestic violence cases.
Must everyone follow these guidelines for child support?
No. If parents have come to an agreement that is acceptable to the court, that agreement will take precedence. Also, upon review of evidence by the court that the guidelines are inadequate, excessive or inappropriate for a particular set of circumstances, a judge may deviate from the guidelines. The court will make the final determination whether the guidelines are to be followed (usually in cases where there is no parental agreement and the court must issue a child support order) or if the court will accept the terms agreed upon by the parents or whether the judge must make deviations based on a review of the specifics. For instance, one parent may want the other to pay for private school tuition and the other parent may think it should be divided equally. The court will make a determination based upon review of the income and expenses of each parent, taking into consideration who is the primary custodian of the children and other factors.
As you can see, there are many variations to the Child Support laws in North Carolina. The interpretation and determination of monetary responsibility will impact a family for many years, which makes it imperative that you consult with a family law attorney for guidance and to ensure that your interests are given consideration by the court.
Child Support Questions NC
You want to create a mutually satisfactory agreement that allows everyone to live in a peaceful, healthy environment, with a financial arrangement that can be handled by both parents in the years ahead. The outcome will determine if the children will continue to live at their current standard of living or if part of the family will have to make more sacrifices. The family law attorneys at Emblem Legal in Charlotte have the experience to help you at every step along the way.