Child support is a legal requirement that orders a parent to help pay for some of the child’s expenses. Child support is designed to ensure children of separated parents are well cared for and are protected against financial neglect.

“Several factors can determine the amount of child support a parent is legally obligated to pay,” said Thomas D. Bumgardner, Ballantyne child support lawyer. “In addition to the payment amount, many recently separated parents are left wondering if the support payments can be changed and what happens if a parent stops paying their share.”

Find out how child support is calculated and awarded, who is required to pay and several other important factors in this week’s blog.

The Basics of Child Support

In most cases, child support payments are required until the child turns 18.

First and foremost, child support payments should help cover the child’s basic necessities (i.e. food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc.) Outside of the bare necessities, child support can also be used for the following:

  • Educational fees – A child may require school uniforms, supplies, textbooks, field trip money or a private tutor.
  • Extracurricular activities – Payment for summer camps, sports team enrollment, theater classes, etc. may be required.
  • Childcare – During workdays or holidays and vacations, childcare expenses may be necessary to ensure the child is taken care of when a parent cannot be present.

Child support payments are usually assigned after a custody plan has been agreed upon by the parents or assigned by the court. The parent with secondary custody of the child or children is required to pay an agreed upon amount each month to the primary custodial parent.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Child support is calculated based off of both parent’s incomes, each parent’s ability to support themselves, the number of children involved, the child’s needs and several other factors.

This child support calculator from AllLaw.com is a great tool to estimate your potential child support costs. This should not be interpreted as a definitive number, but it should act as a guide to prepare you for what to expect.

Dispelling a Common Misconception

In North Carolina, child support payments are not the sole responsibility of one parent. Rather, both parents’ share the cost. The primary custodial parent does not have a tangible payment to be made, but the law assumes that a reasonable amount of money will be spent by this parent on the child’s needs.

The parent who does not retain legal custody of the child is required to send a monthly payment to the primary custodial parent.

What If Child Support Isn’t Paid?

If a parent falls behind on their child support or simply refuses to pay their share, there are several steps that the government can take in order to collect the owed amount. This can include garnishing pay, intercepting unemployment checks, withholding federal and state income tax returns and in severe cases, issuance of jail time.

Let Your Ballantyne Child Support Lawyer Guide You Theough The Process

“A lawyer’s help may be needed at any stage of the child support process. With my years of experience and extensive knowledge of the law, I will be able to provide you with legal representation with you and your family’s best interests in mind,” said Bumgardner.

As a Ballantyne child support lawyer, Thomas D. Bumgardner is dedicated to helping families in his community receive the financial support they deserves. To discuss your case, please schedule a free consultation by calling 704.887.4981