Deviations That Can be Made
Typically North Carolina Child Support Claims are resolved by establishing an amount of child support due from a noncustodial parent to a custodial parent using a formula and calculation based upon the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
What are the Guidelines for?
These guidelines list the recommended child support amount based upon the custody schedule for a child (or children) for parents making varying amounts of income.
In other words, the parents make a combined monthly income of x, and in North Carolina, a certain percentage of that income should be spent on the child. That amount apportioned to the child is then pro-rated according to the percentage of the total income earned by each parent, the actual custody schedule and any other particular expenses associated with the child (typically child care and health insurance) and then a suggested child support award is calculated.
Situations Where the Guidelines are Not Used
In some cases however, the law recognizes that such a result and method of calculation may be unjust or unnecessary to meet the reasonable financial needs of the child. For one thing, the Child Support Guidelines only provide suggested support amounts up to $180,000. In families that exceed this income, actual evidence of reasonable need will need to presented and guidelines “deviated” from technically speaking.
In some other cases the parties may receive income or benefits from nontraditional sources which are not considered. Consider for instance a custodial parent living on a estate of her parents with no plans to ever move and all food, transportation, etc all paid for. The calculation assumes these costs of housing and food will be incurred by the primary custodial parent so a claim for deviation could be made.
There are also many other possibilities where a deviation may be called for, such as especially high expenses for child for. Consider a child with a compromised immune system or restricted diet that is not assumed in the Guideline amounts?
The key legal issues with regard to a deviation from Guidelines support is the understanding that in order to make claim for deviation, the moving party must provide Notice ahead of time and will then be required to prove the need for the deviation and if successful the amount of child then reasonably necessary to support the minor child. This is considerably more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive in most cases in the context of attorney’ fees.
The key is to understand the Guideline child support was designed for the “typical” child in a “typical” situation. Clearly sometimes things are more complicated and life can be more or less expensive. Discuss any potential reasons for deviation form Guideline child support with your Divorce Attorney.
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