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Determining Child Support in High Income Cases

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The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines in effect for 2013 provide a formula for determining the recommended basic child support obligation for parents whose combined adjusted gross incomes is $25,000 per month ($300,000 per year) or less. The vast majority of child support cases fall within the child support guidelines. However, in cases where the parents’ combined adjusted gross income is greater than $25,000 per month, child support is determined on a case-by-case basis. In cases involving high combined incomes, the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines provide that “the court should set support in such amount as to meet the reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance, having due regard to the estates, earnings, conditions, accustomed standard of living of the child and the parties, the child care and homemaker contributions of each party, and other facts of the particular case…” The trial court is required to make detailed findings of fact regarding each of these factors, but the trial court has substantial discretion in the weight given to each factor.

Child support awards in high income cases generally focus on the needs and expenses of the child/children and the incomes of the parents. In Buncombe County, North Carolina, under the local Family Court rules, a parent seeking child support in a high income case is required to file a detailed financial affidavit setting forth his or her monthly income and expenses, as well as the expenses of the child/children. The supporting parent is also required to file a financial affidavit. Due to the latitude that is given to the trial court in determining child support awards in high income cases, the results can be difficult to predict which increases the likelihood that the parties will resort to litigation to resolve the issue of child support. Regardless of whether you are a parent seeking support, or the supporting parent, you will benefit from having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney presenting evidence of income, accustomed standard of living, and other relevant factors on your behalf.

At Gum, Hillier and McCroskey, P. A., our family law attorneys represent clients in all aspects of family law, including high income child support cases. If you reside in Asheville or the surrounding areas, please contact our office to see how we may be of assistance to you.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.