Child support laws are clear; in the event of separation, both parents have an obligation to help support their children. There are specific child support guidelines Cary courts follow, but judges may deviate from the guidelines if family circumstances warrant it.
Every family situation is unique, and you may wonder how child support will be calculated. You may also worry about how child support payments will affect your financial situation during and after divorce. A seasoned Cary child support lawyer could help guide you through this complex process.
An attorney could assist you by explaining child support guidelines formulas, reviewing family finances, assisting with the preparation of financial statements for court, explaining how income and alimony may affect child support awards, drafting a proposed child support award, representing your interests in court, and drafting post-divorce modifications.
Child support is the method courts utilize to ensure both parents financially participate in raising a child. Support payments typically end when a child is emancipated, or no longer requires financial support. This may be at age 18, but support may continue if the child is a full-time student in post-secondary school.
Child support is calculated by using a complex formula that factors in the cost of medical insurance, custody arrangements, the monthly income of both parents, and any expenses of daycare. Although courts follow the Child Support Guidelines, the judge has broad discretion to adjust the award based on family circumstances.
Even if a parent does not work, they may be ordered to pay some support. Some expenses such as extra medical expenses or the cost of extracurricular activities may also be ordered.
Child support may be set by an agreement between the parents in a Voluntary Support Agreement. The parents can submit the agreement to the court for approval. A family court judge reviews the proposed agreement along with the family’s finances, living arrangements, and incomes. If approved, the agreement becomes an order of the court and is enforceable by both parties.
The parent with physical custody may file a civil action against the other parent for child support. The parent seeking child support would contact Child Support Enforcement (CSE) and fill out an application. The CSE office then may facilitate the process with the court, collect and distribute payments, and enforce support orders.
Child support is always subject to modification. If the needs of the child increase, an old child support award may be inadequate to meet those new demands. Sometimes one or both parents’ finances may change due to an increase or decrease in wages. When circumstances change, a parent may request a hearing with the court to reevaluate child support.
The court has the authority to change the child support award based on the evidence presented. If the judge is satisfied that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred in the financial situation of the family since the original award, they may permit a modification. The Guidelines allow for modification if the old child support order is 15 percent higher or lower than the requested new amount.
If you need advice on how child support could be calculated for your situation, you may benefit from a consultation with a Cary child support lawyer. When you are going through a divorce, you may feel helpless. However, an experienced lawyer could listen to your concerns, offer advice, and help you every step of the way.
A lawyer with experience in handling all aspects of child support law could work with you to help you achieve the best outcome. Contact us today to schedule a case review with one of our child support professionals.