When you decide to end your marriage through a divorce, child support and child custody issues may become important aspects of the divorce. Determining child custody and child support arrangements aren’t always easy. Due to the emotional nature of these issues, they can become some of the most contentious issues to resolve with your ex-spouse or partner.
Discuss Your Child Support Issue With a New Bern Attorney
Due to the emotional nature of these types of family law cases, seeking the guidance experience of a child support attorney is important. If you are going through a divorce or you’d like to modify an existing child custody order, the experienced attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith are here to help. Contact our North Carolina law firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you.
The divorce process can be as difficult on children as it is on their parents. North Carolina laws attempt to make the adjustment process easier for your child by keeping their living standard the same as before the separation or divorce. Both parents are legally obligated to share the financial responsibility for the child. However, they aren’t legally required to provide the same amount of financial support.
Under North Carolina’s guidelines, the amount is based on each parent’s income and the child’s financial needs. These guidelines try to keep the contributions from the parents the same as they were before the separation so the child can maintain financial stability. In most cases, the parents who do not have primary custody will be expected to pay child support to offset the cost of raising a child.
Calculating the child support payment amount isn’t a straightforward process. Not all parents have straightforward sources of income to consider. North Carolina Courts use different worksheets in different cases. For example, parents with sole custody use worksheet A. Parents with joint custody use worksheet B, and parents with shared custody use worksheet C. Calculations are based on multiple factors, including the following:
- Both parents’ income
- The number of children involved
- Any preexisting child support agreements
- Any alimony owed to a former partner
- Obligations of support to other dependents
- The medical, dental, educational, and other child care expenses
- The frequency of overnight visits
- Daycare costs
- Other extraordinary expenses
Modifying Child Support Payments in North Carolina
What happens if you are no longer able to afford to pay your child support obligations? Perhaps you’ve lost your job, or your hours have been reduced substantially. A North Carolina judge can modify an existing order when an unexpected change to either parent’s financial situation occurs. The court’s apparent petition to modify the order must present evidence that a substantial change in financial circumstances has occurred. The changing circumstances need to justify modifying the order, such as:
- Personal injuries
- Promotions and raises at work
- Job loss
Additionally, if the custodial parent has a change in circumstances and requires an increase in child support, or if the custodial parent suspects that the ex-spouse is hiding income, he or she can request a modification to increase the amount. The experienced child support attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith can help you obtain an accurate summary of your co-parent’s income and petition the court to modify your original agreement.
What Happens When a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support?
Once a North Carolina court has determined that child support needs to be paid and established the child custody order, the paying parent must pay as ordered. When the paying parent fails to pay, the paying parent can be held in contempt of court and face multiple penalties. The judge overseeing the case may order garnishment of the paying parent’s wages. Other penalties may include the following:
- Possible loss of driver’s license
- Interception of tax refunds
- Seizure of certain assets of the paying parent
- Possible loss of professional licenses
- Fines and imprisonment
The Benefits of Working With a Family Law Attorney
Child support agreements can be challenging for parents to try to work out on their own. There are three different worksheets courts use to calculate payments. Additionally, judges will consider multiple factors in addition to the calculations on the worksheets. In many cases, one parent will feel like they’ve been asked to pay too much in payments while the other parent feels they are not receiving enough.
Working with a child support attorney can help you in many ways. A child support attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to pursue the best possible agreement in your case. An attorney can also present the most persuasive arguments on your behalf in court, so you don’t have to argue your case independently. When income is disputed, an attorney can ensure that the income totals are accurate and reflect each parent’s true capabilities.
Finally, when one parent fails to pay child support, an attorney will help you negotiate with a non-paying parent. If negotiations fail and the parent continues to fail to pay, an attorney can take the case to court and help you obtain the child support you deserve.
Contact a New Bern Child Support Attorney
The experienced child support attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith have a proven track record of successfully helping clients throughout North Carolina. If you are going through a dispute, you do not have to deal with these complicating factors alone. One of our experienced child custody attorneys will work side-by-side with you, advocating for the best outcome possible for you and your child. Contact Greene Crow & Smith today to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about our legal services.