Dedicated North Carolina Attorneys Seek Fair Child Support Awards
Responsive Wilmington lawyers advocate for parents’ rights and children’s financial welfare
Divorce or separation doesn’t absolve parents of their responsibility to support their children. When a relationship ends and children reside with one parent rather than both, the noncustodial parent is usually ordered to pay child support. To ensure the support award is fair and based on accurate information, it’s important to receive experienced legal counsel. At Hager Divorce & Family Law in Wilmington, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience representing clients in family law cases, including child support matters. Our firm will advocate for a fair award in your case, whether you will pay support or receive it.
Dedicated counselors explain North Carolina’s guidelines on child support
Court-ordered child support is calculated using official guidelines, the purpose of which is to ensure the reasonable needs of the child are met, taking into account both parents’ ability to finance those needs. However, a court can deviate from the guidelines based on such factors as:
- Child custody arrangements —A support award will depend in part on whether a parent has sole or joint physical custody of the children. Noncustodial parents are usually required to pay child support.
- Each parent’s real and potential earnings —The court has discretion to reduce a parent’s payments if they are unfairly high, but may add potential income if it finds that a parent voluntarily reduced his or her employment in bad faith.
- Responsibility for other children — If a parent has other child support obligations or is caring for other children, the court may take that into account.
- Expenses — The court may increase payments to account for paid childcare, healthcare, health insurance and other related expenditures.
Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, it is essential that you hire an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests. We put our understanding of the law and how judges actually decide cases to advocate for child support payments that are fair to both you and your children.
Skilled advisers help parents work out their share of financial responsibility
North Carolina uses an “income shares” model of child support. That means that a child should receive the same proportion of financial support from each parent as the child would get if the family was still intact. The model presumes that the custodial parent will pay his or her share as part of rearing the child, but what if the parents have joint or shared custody? If so, there will be less need to equalize their financial contributions because they will take turns supporting the child. That is why child custody arrangements factor into support calculations. It is important to keep in mind that parents can ease the stress of going to court over this issue by agreeing to child support payments that they consider fair when they divorce or separate. Whenever possible, we will try to help you reach an amicable agreement over child support that is fair to you and your child, but if not, we will press your rights in court.
Responsive attorneys assist with modifications to support orders
Whether child support is determined by a court or by agreement of the parties, it becomes part of a court order that is binding on both parents. When circumstances change over time, however, you can petition the court to modify the support order. For instance, changes in parents’ employment may make it difficult to meet their support obligations, while increased child-rearing expenditures might require increasing the obligation. With decades of understanding what facts convince courts to adjust child support obligations, we can help you whether you are paying or receiving child support.
Contact reliable child support lawyers in Wilmington
For reliable legal guidance on child support, please reach out to Hager Divorce & Family Law in Wilmington during our office hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We serve individuals and families throughout southeastern North Carolina, including New Hanover and Pender counties. Call us at 910-726-3607 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation for which we charge $250.00.