During a divorce, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make with your spouse is how you’ll handle parenting duties. It’s never fun to figure out custody and child support. Guildford County parents can benefit from having an experienced team of lawyers on their side. At Morgenstern & Associates, we specialize in family law and can help you find a fair solution during your divorce. If you’re searching for custody and child support Guilford County, we can help.
Let’s go over the basics you need to know about child support in North Carolina.
How Child Support is Calculated
During an amicable divorce, you may wish to figure out a child custody and support agreement without using state guidelines. If you and your spouse agree, it is simply a matter of putting that agreement in writing so it can be enforced if necessary. However, in many cases, this isn’t the fairest option for both parties.
Instead, we recommend using the guidelines used by the state when both parties do not agree. The amount you will receive or pay will change based on if you share custody or if one party has sole custody. Regardless of where a child spends their days, a parent has joint custody if the child spends at least 123 nights at their home. Otherwise, the custodial parent has sole custody. You can also have a split custody agreement if you have several children, but they spend their nights at different homes.
Once custody has been determined, child support is based on income. This includes not only income from work, but other sources of income as well, such as investments, bonuses, etc. Almost all sources of income can be included by the court when determining child support payments.
Adjustments to Child Support Guilford County Parents Should Understand
Although the state’s guidelines are a great place to start, child support payments are more complicated for most families. That’s why it is so important to find an experienced divorce attorney in Greensboro. Here in North Carolina, several factors can make the courts order a higher or lower child support payment than you see on the state-provided chart.
First, if you and the other parent collectively make more than $30,000 per month in income from all sources, the courts won’t be able to use the chart to determine child support payments. Instead, they’ll look at the child’s costs for “reasonable needs,” which include education, healthcare, and other expenses. Additionally, the court will look at the current standard of living for the child. The goal is always to maintain a child’s lifestyle so the divorce avoids as much disruption as possible. Of course, there’s a lot of gray area here, which is why it is so important to have the best family law attorney possible on your side.
Even if your joint income is within the standard guidelines, the court may order adjustments to child support payments. Here are the factors that can adjust payments:
- Child support payments or responsibility for other children, such as a child from a previous marriage
- Contributions to a child’s health insurance costs
- Child care costs due to work, such as daycare or after-school child care costs
- Higher than normal costs relating to a child’s education, medical care, and other needs
Again, there’s a lot of gray area here. So, it can be extremely beneficial to have the team here at Morgenstern & Associates helping you. Our goal is to achieve a fair solution that puts your child’s needs first.
Child Support Modifications
Child support agreements are not permanent. While most child support continues until the latter of the child turning 18 or graduating from high school, if situations change, you can modify an agreement.
For couples with a child support order from the court, modification is still possible. Courts can modify child support orders upon a substantial change in circumstances, such as an increase or involuntary decrease in income, or if the needs of the child change. If a court order is more than 3 years old, an automatic substantial change is determined if the amount of child support amount varies by 15% or more (not the income) by applying the current Guidelines.
FAQs About Hiring a Child Support Attorney
If you are going through a separation, we would love to talk to you about your situation and answer your questions about child support. During your divorce consultation, we can give you specific advice on your case. Here are a few general questions we hear.
How can I hire the best family lawyer near me?
Look for a team with experience working with people like you. Here at Morgenstern & Associates, we have over 40 years of combined experience. US World Reports ranks our firm as a Tier 1 law firm in a metropolitan area.
Do I need a lawyer if my divorce is amicable?
While you legally don’t have to hire a lawyer for a divorce, this can leave you vulnerable. A lawyer can’t work for both parties, so if your ex-spouse hires an attorney to file paperwork, they work for that person, not you. Protect yourself! Don’t worry; we can still help you keep the divorce amicable.
If you’d like to learn more about child support Guilford County parents (and parents from nearby North Carolina counties) can click here to contact us today.