How is child support determined?

Posted in

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines in effect for 2013 provide a formula for determining the basic child support obligation for parents’ with combined adjusted gross incomes of $300,000 per year ($25,000 per month) or less. There are numerous variables which may factor into the presumptive child support calculation, such as the number of nights that the child spends with each parent, health insurance premiums, work related child care expenses, each parents’ obligations for the support of other children, and any extraordinary expenses based on the special needs of the child.

The child support guidelines include three child support worksheets that allow child support to be calculated based on various custodial arrangements. “Worksheet A” is used to calculate child support when one parent has sole custody. “Worksheet B” is used to calculate child support in shared custody arrangements where each parent has the child at least 123 nights per year. “Worksheet C” is used when there is more than one child for whom child support is being determined and each parent has primary custody of at least one child.

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are based on an income shares model so that each parent provides support for the child in proportion to his or her income. If the court finds that a parent has reduced or suppressed his or her income in bad faith, the court may impute income to that parent.

If the court finds that the amount of child support calculated by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines does not meet or exceeds the reasonable needs of the child, or that it would otherwise be unjust or inappropriate, the court may deviate from the guidelines. In those cases where the court deviates from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, as well as in cases where the parents’ combined adjusted gross incomes exceed $300,000 per year, the child support is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and related child support worksheets may be accessed online at

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.