Child Support


Helping individuals thoroughly understand and work through child support issues is an important financial aspect of the divorce process. While North Carolina law provides specific child support guidelines to ensure proper financial support for children when the parents are no longer together, exceptions frequently occur.  Knowing when the child support guidelines should apply and understanding the nuances which may make another calculation more appropriate are ways in which Smith Debnam can help advise you regarding your specific circumstances to get the best result for you and your children.

North Carolina Child Support Calculator


“The Smith Debnam team helped me to settle my divorce case. They were responsive, prompt, and courteous. They helped me to navigate a complicated process and advocated for what was in my children’s best interests. I found the front desk staff helpful and I could not have asked for a better experience with the divorce itself, all thanks to Smith Debnam.”
– Erin B.


Contact Smith Debnam Today

From our office in Raleigh, we serve clients throughout central North Carolina. To schedule a consultation with a Raleigh child support attorney at our firm, call 919-250-2000.

What are the child support guidelines?

The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are created by the Conference of Chief District Judges to provide direction regarding the amount of child support that is presumed to be in a child’s best interests. These guidelines are updated periodically and are applied in most cases with rare exceptions.

How do I enforce an order or an agreement for child support?

There are several ways to enforce a parent’s child support obligation. How the obligation is enforced depends on the unique facts of the case. The law provides more ways to enforce payment of child support obligations than other financial obligations.

Can college expenses be considered in child support?

A parent can voluntarily agree to pay for college expenses for a child, but the law does not require it.

How are a child’s healthcare expenses paid?

In some circumstances, parents can agree on how to pay a child’s uninsured or unreimbursed healthcare expenses in any way they desire. In the absence of an agreement, the expenses are divided in some proportion between the two parents, ranging from equal payment to each parent paying a percentage of the child’s healthcare expenses in proportion to his or her respective gross income.

Who can claim the child dependency exemptions for the children?

Outside of an agreement or order otherwise, the Internal Revenue Code states that the parent who has the child for the majority of overnights throughout a calendar year should claim the exemptions. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines presuppose that the parent who is receiving child support ought to claim those exemptions.

Do I have to pay taxes on child support I receive?

No. Child support is not taxable to the parent who receives it nor is it deductible by the parent who pays it.

Is there a difference between child support and alimony?

Yes. Child support is support paid for use and benefit of the child, and alimony is support paid for the use and benefit of a spouse or former spouse.

If I have custody will I receive child support payments?

The amount of physical custody a parent has does affect the amount of child support received or paid. When a child resides with each parent for at least 123 nights per year, the child support obligation is adjusted to account for this custodial arrangement.

How is child support determined?

In most cases, child support is determined by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines consider both parents’ gross incomes, the cost of health insurance for the child, the cost of work-related child care, and in some cases, additional extraordinary expenses. In some circumstances, the child support guidelines should not apply. If that happens, then the specific financial needs of the child and relative ability of the parents to pay support are used to determine the appropriate level of support.

How long does child support last?

Child support typically lasts until the child reaches 18 and graduates from high school.

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