If you're going through a divorce and have multiple children, it's important to understand that in North Carolina, the child support calculations and what the court orders for the children could potentially be different. Both parents in North Carolina are required to contribute to child support.
Custody Type Can Affect Child Support
So how is it possible that the amount the court orders for your five-year-old could be different than what it orders for your thirteen-year-old? The simplest answer is that it's dependent on custody. The state offers three different worksheets you can use to calculate estimated monthly child support amounts. The first is if someone has primary physical custody of the child. The second is for situations where the parents have shared or joint custody. And finally, there's a worksheet for instances when primary custody is split for two or more children.
How can this result in different child support amounts? If you and your ex have different custody arrangements for different children, then you could potentially need to use separate worksheets for each child. Maybe your teenager decides they'd like to live primarily with the other parent but still spend several nights with you per week. On the other hand, your five-year-old will live with you full time and not spend the night with your ex. Under these circumstances, the amount the court ordered might be different.
So Can a Judge's Discretion
The other instance where it might be possible would be if the judge decided that there was an exception that only related to one child. Judges must order child support by the amount the North Carolina Guidelines determine. The only exception to this is when “applying the Guidelines would not meet or would exceed the reasonable needs of the child, or would otherwise be unjust or inappropriate.” An exception, therefore, would be up to the judge's discretion.
North Carolina Child Support Attorneys
Child support arrangements can be challenging and stressful. Working with an attorney versed in the options and how North Carolina calculates the numbers can help reduce the stress. Call Jerkins Family Law today at 919-719-2785 or contact us online with any questions you may have.