Child support is ordered by the court to ensure children have their health, education and maintenance needs met.
A parent may need to provide income documentation, expenses they have paid for the child and other information for the court to determine the amount of child support to order. In North Carolina, the child support amount is calculated based on guidelines which take each family’s financial circumstances into consideration.
There may be situations where one parent refuses to pay his or her child support obligation. The parent who is owed child support can submit a motion to the court to hold that parent in contempt. The court has several enforcement options, such as withholding the paying parent’s wages, intercepting income and even jail time.
Sometimes, there are situations where a paying parent is unable to pay in full or can only pay a reduced amount due to a substantial change in circumstances. This could occur when the parent loses his or her job, for example. If the paying parent wants to modify the child support order, the court will require income documentation to change it.
Once the child turns 18, the parents are not obligated by the court to financially support their child unless the child has not yet completed high school. However, parents can make a separate agreement to support a child through college age or provide support for a disabled child.
If a parent still owes child support after the child turns 18, also known as arrears, those payments will continue until the full amount is paid.
If parents would like assistance with child support or related family law matters, there is help available.