Q. How is child support determined?A. Child support is based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines unless a party can show that the guideline amount is insufficient to meet the needs of the child or exceeds the needs of the child. The guidelines are based on the incomes of both parties and take into account the time that the child spends with each parent, the costs of child care, health insurance and any extraordinary expenses.Q. The other parent isn't paying support; what should I do?A. Sometimes a letter threatening court action is enough, but if that doesn't work an enforcement action in court becomes necessary. This is in the form of a motion for contempt and an order to show cause which requires the non-paying party to appear in court and explain why they have not paid. The burden of proof is on the person making the allegation. Enforcement actions can be done without charge through the county child support enforcement agency, or through the services of a hired attorney such as our firm if you are seeking faster, more aggressive representation.Q. I'm behind on my child support; what should I do?A. If you are being summoned to court on a motion for contempt for failing to pay child support, you must have a valid excuse for failing to pay the amount as ordered. If you pay little or nothing, and the judge finds that you could have paid more, you will likely be held in contempt and you can be put in jail for either 30 days, or until you pay the amount owed. Telling the judge that you couldn't pay your support because you had to make your car payment or some other bill will not be considered a valid excuse. In the eyes of the court, your children come before your car or any other bills you have, and remember, they can't put you in jail if you don't make your car payment, but they can, and often will, if you don't make your child support payment.All of this said, I represent many clients who are behind on their child support payments, and I am often successful in keeping them out of jail. But this depends a lot on you making an honest effort to pay what you owe.Q. How can I increase or decrease the child support order?A. If your income has decreased and you are paying child support, you probably need to file a motion to modify your child support. If the needs of the child have increased or decreased significantly, you probably need to file a motion to modify child support. However, an increase in the income of either party alone will not justify a modification of child support. If there is more than one child involved and a child has turned 18 and graduated from high school, you may need to file a motion. Also, you can file a motion to modify child support every three years if you can show that the amount of support that would be paid under the current guidelines is 15 percent more or less than the amount that was ordered in the last support order.For more detailed answers to your child support questions, call our firm at 336-373-8469 to schedule your consultation today. Samuel S. Spagnola is a Board Certified as a Specialist in family law by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization and welcomes the opportunity to help you with your child support case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support In North Carolina
The Spagnola Law FIrm in Greensboro, North Carolina, represents clients throughout the Piedmont Triad area, also including Gibsonville, High Point, Jamestown, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Winston-Salem, Asheboro, Liberty, Whitsett, Kernersville, Reidsville, Eden and Randleman in Guilford County, Rockingham County, Randolph County and Alamance County.