Child Support in North Carolina

Child Support

Child support is a court-ordered payment, normally on a monthly or weekly schedule, to support one’s minor child or children.  In North Carolina, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is typically calculated using the income shares model.  The income shares model sets the support amount based on the income of both parents and the support amount is prorated between parents based on the income attributable to each.  In these situations, income that may be considered are wages, tips, bonuses, investment income, and overtime wages.

When does child support end?
The duty to pay child support typically ends when the child turns 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever date comes later.  However, if the child is still in high school and making progress, the duty to pay child support ends at 20 and if the child chooses to live independently, the parent does not have to pay for these accommodations.

Can child support be modified?
In order to modify child support in North Carolina, courts look at several factors including, but not limited to, the current award being unfair or unconscionable and if there has been a 20% change in the income of either party.  If one party voluntarily terminated their employment and is now looking to get child support modified, the courts look at the good faith test and ask whether a parent quit their job to avoid their child support obligation or did they quit their job to better themselves, i.e. going back to school for a higher degree.  All of these factors are balanced against each other by the court to determine whether child custody should be modified.