A child support calculation is based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. A Worksheet "A" calculation is based on one parent having primary physical custody. This means that the other parent has less than 123 overnights per year with the child(ren).
Will I be able to recover attorney fees if I make a claim for child support?
It depends on the circumstances of your case. Our North Carolina General Statutes provide as follows:
§ 50-13.6. Counsel fees in actions for custody and support of minor children.
"In an action or proceeding for the custody or support, or both, of a minor child, including a motion in the cause for the modification or revocation of an existing order for custody or support, or both, the court may in its discretion order payment of reasonable attorney's fees to an interested party acting in good faith who has insufficient means to defray the expense of the suit. Before ordering payment of a fee in a support action, the court must find as a fact that the party ordered to furnish support has refused to provide support which is adequate under the circumstances existing at the time of the institution of the action or proceeding; provided however, should the court find as a fact that the supporting party has initiated a frivolous action or proceeding the court may order payment of reasonable attorney's fees to an interested party as deemed appropriate under the circumstances."
Generally speaking, in order to modify a custody or child support order, unless you and the other parent agree to the modified terms, you will need to show the Court that there has been a substantial change of circumstances materially affecting the best interests and welfare of your children.
Our North Carolina General Statutes provide, in part, as follows:
"...An order of a court of this State for support of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested..."
Do I receive less child support if we have joint custody?
This answer depends on the financial circumstances of your case and whether you consent to an amount with your spouse or determine child support pursuant to the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. If you case is “on the Guidelines”, then yes, you will typically receive less child support money from your spouse if he or she has joint custody of your children. The most logical explanation for this is that if the children’s other parent has the child more than 123 overnights per year, then there is a presumption that he or she is spending more money on the children when they are with him or her and therefore should not pay as much direct support to the other parent. In these situations, there is a presumed “true sharing of expenses” and therefore child support will be calculated based upon a Worksheet B or “joint custody” worksheet.
Will I be given credit if I have to pay child support for a child from another relationship?
Yes, this would be taken into account in the calculation of your child support obligation whether court-ordered or whether you simply have a financial responsibility for other children currently living with you. As for the details, you should consult with your attorney.
In general, both parties have a duty to support their child until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever event occurs last. However, if the minor child is over 18 and continues to attend secondary school, parties are obligated to provide child support up to the age of 20.
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