Answers To Common Questions About Child Custody And Support
There is perhaps no aspect of a separation or divorce that matters more to parents than the well-being of their children. As you are approaching legal processes that will determine where your child(ren) will live and which parent(s) will pay child support, you naturally have many questions. Personalized answers are best, but you can get an idea of the kinds of things other parents ask below.
Bring your own questions to our attention to help find your way forward at a time of family changes.
How will child support be determined in our family’s case?
The state of North Carolina provides online worksheets, sometimes called a “calculator,” that help predict what levels of child support a family law judge will expect and/or approve of. To use the calculator, you will need to know the type of custody arrangements your child will have, each parent’s income and other factors. Beyond the basic dollar amounts obtained in this way, there may be reasons to ask a court to make exceptions. If you believe the child support figure derived from the state’s worksheets is unfair or if there are special circumstances such as a child’s health problems, your attorney may help you request a hearing to petition for a different child support amount.
What counts as income when child support is being calculated?
In general, the answer is all income from all sources, including capital gains, annuities and other streams of income. However, food stamps, child support received for other children and employers’ contributions to health insurance costs are examples of assets that are not to be considered for child support calculations.
What if my child’s other parent is deliberately working less or refusing to work while child support is being calculated?
A family law court may assign parents income that they could be earning in such cases. Staying unemployed or underemployed is not an excuse that family law judges usually tolerate when child support is under consideration.
How will child custody be determined for my child(ren)?
In the view of family law courts, the most important factor in a child custody case is the best interest of the child. Judges will look closely at details such as children’s ages, parents’ living situations, each parent’s willingness to support a child’s relationship with the other parent, each parent’s relationship with the child before the separation or divorce, children’s preferences (after a certain age), continued stability and other relevant issues.