Child support can be one of the most contentious and highly-charged issues in a separation and divorce. Long after a couple has ended their marriage, disputes involving the payment of child support can continue to create conflict and require legal action.
Whether you are paying child support or receiving child support, you need trusted guidance from an experienced child support attorney when issues arise. If you and the other parent cannot agree on child support when separating, our lawyers can help you file a claim for a child support order or modify an existing order.
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, our family law attorneys understand the rights and protections that are built into North Carolina child support laws. We can help with obtaining child support and pursuing past-due child support payments. Attorney Charles Ullman is a North Carolina State Bar-certified Family Law Specialist who has helped many parents resolve child support issues. We are experienced and compassionate attorneys who are committed to helping you find reasonable solutions to child support issues.
Call today or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation at our office in the historic Wyatt House in downtown Raleigh.
How Child Support is Calculated in North Carolina
Child support is a financial obligation shared by both parents to meet the reasonable needs of their child’s health, education and maintenance. However, North Carolina law does not require that both parents pay the same amount in child support. Instead, the law takes into consideration the needs of the child and the relative abilities of the parents to pay support.
When presented with your child support claim, the Family Law judge will calculate the amount by applying the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The court will also use a child support worksheet that is based on the type of child custody arrangement you have – sole, joint or split.
While the N.C. Child Support Guidelines use a complicated formula to determine payments, you can click on our Child Support Calculator provided by Charles Ullman & Associates to estimate the child support payment that the court may order in your situation.
The primary factors that the court will use to determine the amount of child support include:
- Both parents’ monthly incomes and potential incomes, including IRAs and stock options
- The child’s past, present and future expenses, including daycare, dental, medical, education and maintenance expenses such as food, clothing and shelter
- The child’s extraordinary medical expenses
- The accustomed standard of living of the parents and child
- Prior child support payments ordered
It’s worth keeping in mind that every family has different circumstances. In our changing society, men are not always the ones ordered to pay child support. Women may be required to pay child support to ex-partners who have custody of the children.
The attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates work with both men and women who need help resolving child support issues.
Do I Have to Go to Court to Determine My Child Support Payments?
Child support is an obligation shared by both parents in North Carolina. You and your child’s other parent can voluntarily agree on the amount that each parent contributes to the child’s upkeep. If the agreement is signed by both parents and the judge, it becomes an enforceable court order. Often, people need to go to court to seek a court order because of disagreements about paying child support or failure by one party to meet his or her child support obligations. A parent’s child support obligations may change over time.
You can review the North Carolina child support worksheet that is relevant to your case to get an idea of your obligation, although we recommend working with one of our family law attorneys to ensure your case is handled properly.
- Worksheet A —Child Support Obligation—Primary Custody
- Worksheet B—Child Support Obligation—Joint or Shared Physical Custody
- Worksheet C—Child Support Obligation—Split Custody
What Happens if Child Support Payments Are Not Being Made?
If the other parent of your child is not paying court-ordered child support, a family law attorney at Charles Ullman & Associates can take action on your behalf. We can file a Motion for Order to Show Cause for Failure to Comply with a Child Support Order requesting that the Family Law Court hold the other party in contempt.
The court has a number of options to address a parent’s failure to pay child support as previously ordered. A parent who fails to pay child support may have his or her wages withheld or may be sent to jail, depending on the circumstances.
If you are required to pay child support and you lose your job, your attorney can file a Motion to Modify the child support order and help you gather the financial information necessary to support your request for a modification order. A substantial change in circumstances can justify a modification of the child support order. The court will decide how your change of circumstances affects your ability to pay child support.
Does Child Support Change as My Child Gets Older?
A child’s reasonable needs may change as the child gets older. A child support order can be modified after three years to take into account the child’s changing needs. The court will hold a hearing on the request to modify the child support. Our attorneys can help you gather documentation to justify any request to modify the child support order.
Parents are generally not required to support a child once the child reaches age 18 unless the child remains in high school. Parents are required to provide child support until the child graduates from high school or reaches age 20 if the child remains in high school.
If your child has reached the age of 18 and graduated from high school, you can file a motion with the court to terminate child support. Alternately, the court may terminate the order for a parent to make child support payments before the child turns 18 if the child gets married or joins the U.S. military.
Some parents choose to enter voluntary support agreements to support a child through college. Once signed by both parents and the judge, the agreement becomes a court order.
Do I Need a Child Support Lawyer for My Case?
Child support can be a contentious process, and having an experienced attorney guiding you through the process can help reduce the stress. Our dedicated Raleigh child support attorneys frequently help clients through the course of their arrangements to ensure their rights are protected.
Mediation: Our attorneys represent parents going through divorce to help reach a child support agreement through mediation. The non-custodial parent may agree to make certain weekly or monthly payments or agree to transfer property as a form of financial support. This agreement can then be incorporated into a court order.
Court Order: If you and the other parent cannot reach an agreement on child support in a divorce, our attorneys can help you file a claim for a child support court order. This can be done as part of a separation, divorce, or annulment action or by filing a separate civil action.
Modifications: Our child support attorneys help parents obtain modifications of child support payments when a parent’s circumstances change. For example, one parent may be making significantly less or more now than at the time of the original agreement or order. The child’s circumstances may have changed, or the parent responsible for paying may have had another child. We may be able to argue that the terms of the agreement are unreasonable given your circumstances.
Failure to Pay Child Support: If your former partner fails to pay child support, our experienced attorneys may pursue a number of options on your behalf. These could range from filing a breach of contract to garnishment of the parent’s wages. The former partner could also be held in contempt of court, lose the title to real property, lose certain license privileges, or face criminal punishment.
Retroactive Child Support: If you did not establish a child support agreement originally, it may be possible to seek retroactive child support. It is best to ask if our attorneys can help you pursue payments dating back three years, as allowed by North Carolina law prior to settling child support.
Visitation Rights: Visitation rights and child support are two separate issues under the law, and you cannot refuse to honor one as punishment for problems with the other. If your former partner is not following child support or child custody orders, our compassionate attorneys can work with you to compel the other parent to comply.
Contact Raleigh Child Support Attorney
The dedicated child support attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates are committed to seeing you and your children through the process. Charles R. Ullman & Associates is committed to seeking reasonable outcomes to child support issues within the bounds of the law. Contact us today to learn how our understanding and compassionate legal team can help with your case.
Read what some former clients say about their experience with Charles Ullman & Associates, then contact us to schedule an appointment.