Child Custody & Child Support
Child Custody. Child custody determinations in North Carolina are made using the “best interests of the child,” standard. This standard relies heavily on the discretion of the judge and that no two situations, or children, are alike. Child custody can be resolved by consent, either by agreement or entry of a consent order. In that case, neither party would need to step foot in a court room for an adversarial proceeding. Child custody can also be resolved through the court system, which includes participation in the court-ordered mediation program. You will only need to have a contested child custody proceeding if you are unable to reach an agreement prior to the institution of a court action or during mediation. It is important to know your options with regard to child custody. It is important to have a child custody order or child custody agreement in place, even if you and your child’s parent get along, as these will help to protect you and your child, and set parameters and expectations should an unforeseen event occur. If you are in need of a child custody order or a child custody agreement, or what you have currently is outdated, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.
Child Support. In North Carolina, our legislature takes a formulaic approach to child support awards, which approach is intended to reduce litigation with regard to child support. The calculation takes into consideration the number of children for whom support is being determined, parties’ respective monthly gross incomes, any pre-existing child support payments, any children from a current or previous relationship, any work-related child care costs, any health insurance premium costs for the child, any extraordinary expenses, and the number of overnights that each parent has the child(ren). The calculation then determines the monthly financial costs for the child, and assigns financial responsibility proportionately to the parents’ respective incomes. For more information, you may view the 2015 North Carolina Child Support Guidelines here: http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/Documents/1226.pdf. To determine your potential child support obligation, you may use this child support calculator: https://nddhacts01.dhhs.state.nc.us/home.jsp?TargetScreen=WorkSheet.jsp. If the other parent is not paying child support, or you believe you are paying too much in child support, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.