The cost of child support varies depending on the child custody situation and the parties’ income and expenses.
Calculating child support
To calculate approximate child support payments in North Carolina, use the worksheet* that best describes your child custody situation.
- North Carolina Child Support Guidelines – Using the worksheets
- Child Support Worksheet A – Primary Custody
- Child Support Worksheet B – Joint/Shared Custody
- Child Support Worksheet C – “Split Custody
*These worksheets are created, copyrighted, and maintained by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). For additional forms, visit the North Carolina Courts Web site.
The child support guidelines allow families with incomes less than $300,000 per year to calculate a child support obligation. The current child support guidelines went into effect on 1 January 2015 and must be reviewed every three years. North Carolina’s child support guidelines are based on the “income shares” model. The income shares model is based on the concept that child support is a shared parental obligation and that a child should receive the same proportion of parental income he or she would have received if the child’s parents lived together. As a result, when one parent’s income increases, the basic child support obligation also increases contrary to the popular misconception that “if my ex-wife’s income increases, my child support will decrease.”
NC child support guidelines are based on economic data which represent estimates of average household spending for children between birth and age eighteen, excluding child care, health insurance, and health care costs in excess of $250 per year. Visitation expenses are not factored into the schedule. As a result, a non-custodial parent who incurs substantial expenses in connection with child custody visitations, may want to file a motion to deviate from the NC Child Support Guidelines. The NC Child Support Guidlines also assume that the parent who receives child support claims the tax exemptions for the child. If the parent who receives child support has minimal or no income tax liability, the court may consider requiring the custodial parent to assign the exemption to the supporting parent and deviate from the guidelines.
Collecting & enforcing child support payments
If you are the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent has neglected to pay you child support, contact the North Carolina Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Agency. The Agency is committed to help secure financial and medical support from parents to make their child support payments. CSE helps parents for as little as $25.00.
Retroactive child support
Once a child support order is entered, child support is vested and it is not subject to retroactive modification under N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.10. However, if there is no child support order established, North Carolina law allows you to recover child support retroactively from the non-custodial parent for the past three years.