The majority of parents can agree on child support without going to court. However, either party can request a hearing if they are unable to decide on the amount or when one party has verifiable evidence that suggests that deviation from the guidelines is the best course of action.
In most cases, determining how much child support a parent will pay is based on a very particular calculation that takes numerous factors into account and this final figure is based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, where parents can find a wealth of information around how the calculation is determined.
These guidelines use the “income shares model.” This means that the children should receive the same amount of financial support as they would have done if the parents stayed together, and therefore requires both parents to remain financially responsible for the child, regardless of the living situation.
Child support is in place to help the primary caregiver pay for the various expenses associated with bringing up a child. This can include financial aid to buy the basics such as food and clothing, as well as any educational, healthcare, travel, or any miscellaneous costs for other extracurricular activities.
What are the main factors that affect the amount of a child support payment?
The main factors that courts will consider when determining child support are as follows:
- The gross monthly income of each parent
- The cost of daycare for the child(ren) each month
- The cost of medical insurance for the child(ren)
- The living arrangements of the child(ren) (for example how many nights they spend at each parent’s house)
The calculation is also affected by additional factors that may not be applicable in every instance. These include:
- Any bonuses or commissions earned on top of the basic salary that either parent receives
- Voluntary unemployment or underemployment
- Actual costs incurred, including any unusual necessary expenses
- Any special educational needs the child has
- Unusual visitation scheduling
- Any other factors that may impact on the amount owed
Failure to pay
If the parent ordered to pay child support misses a payment, the other is permitted to file a motion for contempt with the court to force them to pay. There are several remedies available such as the court withholding wages but may lead to criminal penalties if the parent continues to refuse to pay.
If you need assistance with any matter relating to child support, the friendly attorneys at Lehnhardt Price Family Law can help. Contact us to discuss your options with an experienced family lawyer today.