Wake Forest Child Support Attorney
If you are facing a divorce that will include child custody and child support, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable Wake Forest child support attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC. Our legal team is responsive, well-respected, and has a wholly client-centric focus. We are approachable, compassionate, and attentive to your specific family law needs. Attorney Jay Tolin leads by example, valuing input, and seeking to achieve the best results for clients by providing a stellar client experience. Our firm is currently focusing on developing even better processes and procedures via an integrated, intuitive case management system.
We are fully aware that in family law situations, there are rarely “winners.” Our goal is to help you get your life back on track and begin moving forward. We know what an overwhelming time this can be for you and will meet your needs with compassion and honesty. At Tolin & Tolin, PLLC, we treat our clients the way we would want to be treated—equally, and honestly.
Child Support in North Carolina
In North Carolina—as in most states—it is presumed that both parents will provide financial support for their child or children. Typically, barring unusual circumstances, the non-custodial parent will make child support payments to the custodial parents. This assumes that the custodial parent is already spending money directly on the child in the form of a home, utilities, food, clothing, etc. The amount of child support will depend on the number of children who need support, the parents’ incomes, and the custody arrangement.
While the state support guidelines are used to estimate the amount of child support, the court can adjust those amounts when they are excessive for one parent to pay, or inappropriate considering the actual needs of the child. The final amount of child support awarded to the custodial parent could, in actuality, be quite different from the estimated amount. Parents are also required to share costs for childcare, education, and health. Usually, one or both parents will be required to cover the medical insurance for the child.
How is Child Support in North Carolina Determined?
The child support guidelines include a “self-support reserve,” to ensure the paying parent retains enough income to maintain a minimum standard of living. This is based on the 2018 federal poverty level guide for one person, which is $1,012.00. A paying parent who is at or below this level will be assessed a minimum support order of $50. Parents whose combined adjusted gross income is higher than $360,000 per year cannot use the NC child support schedule; the court will set the child support so that it meets the reasonable needs of the child for maintenance, education, and health. Income for each parent is based on net income that is converted from gross annual income; gross income is income before deductions for retirement, health insurance premiums, Medicare taxes, Social Security, and federal or state income taxes.
Gross income comes from any source, including employment or self-employment, as well as business proceeds, property rental, retirement, pensions, trusts, SS benefits, workers’ comp benefits, unemployment benefits, disability pay, insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, and spousal support received from anyone other than the parties to the action at hand. SSI, TANF, and child support payments for other children are not considered income for this purpose. “Income” does not include the income of a person who is not a parent of a child for whom support is being determined, even if that person is married to or lives with the child’s parent.
If you are self-employed or have your own business, the court will consider your gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required for self-employment or operation of the business. Expense reimbursements received by a parent in the course of his or her employment, self-employment, or operation of a business are counted as income if they are significant. A parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed as a means of minimizing his or her child support obligation may have his or her income imputed. This means that the judge will consider the education and past job history of the parent into account and impute the amount he or she believes the parent could be making.
Income statements for each parent will be verified through documentation like pay stubs, employer statements, tax records, or business receipts and expenses. If a parent is currently making child support payments for children from another relationship, these payments will be deducted from his or her gross income. Alimony payments are not deducted from gross income but could potentially be considered as a variable from the final child support obligation.
Can Child Support Be Modified After the Fact?
When child support obligations are set, it is assumed the financial situation of both parents will remain constant for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, sometimes “life” happens, and a parent’s financial circumstances change—either for better or worse. When this occurs, a modification of child support could be warranted.
The parent seeking to modify the child support must petition the court for such a modification. Child support is potentially modifiable if at least one child involved is under the age of 18, and three years have passed since the most recent child support order or modification. You can make a modification of child support if there is a substantial change of circumstances by making a motion to modify in the court action for child support.
If a North Carolina parent can demonstrate a difference of at least 15 percent or more if the parents’ current gross incomes are input, then he or she is allowed to ask for a modification. The parent seeking the modification must prove his or her situation has significantly altered, resulting in an inability to meet current child support obligations.
How a Wake Forest Child Support Attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC Can Help
Child support, child custody, and other family law issues require a Wake Forest child support attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC who is approachable, caring, passionate, and dedicated. Our law firm offers all this and much more. Jay Tolin and the entire legal team have empathy for your situation, along with an exceptional reputation, knowledge, experience, and the skills to ensure the most positive outcome to your family law issue. Contact Tolin & Tolin, PLLC today and you will find a Desire to Serve, the Ability to Show Compassion, and the Will to Help Others.