Child Support in North Carolina

Child support in North Carolina is based on a formula that factors in the GROSS income (income before taxes and deductions) of both parties. This can be relatively straightforward when the parties are paid the same amount each pay period such as most salaried employees.

However, not everyone is paid a fixed salary. Many people are paid hourly and may have overtime. Some people may be paid a base rate, but also a commission. Then there are bonuses that may need to be considered. Under the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, ALL income received is used to calculate child support.  So how does the Court account for income that varies?

Overtime, Bonuses, and Commissions

In most cases when income is not fixed, the Court will pro-rate the income over time to get an average. For example, if a person has a total of 50 hours of overtime over a three month period that totals $750.00, the Court would likely average those hours over the three month period to get an average monthly overtime income.  In this case, the amount would be $250.00 per month ($750 divided by 3). So if the person’s regular gross income is $2000.00 before overtime, an additional $250.00 would be added and the child support would be based on gross monthly income of $2250.00.

Overtime can fluctuate greatly during the year, so averaging overtime over a longer period of time by producing more paystubs will usually produce the most accurate number. Even though overtime, commissions, and bonuses are usually not guaranteed, a Court will use recent income history to factor these amounts into the guidelines.

One Time Income Changes

If extra income is earned on a one-time basis, the guidelines allow the Court to order a one time payment or payments over time based on the same percentage of income that the child support guidelines direct a person to pay. How this would or would not apply to you would depend very much on the facts of your case, so it is important to have a good attorney on your side.

For more on child support, check out our child support information page that contains answers to common questions in the bottom right. The Spagnola Law Firm has been serving family law clients in Greensboro and surrounding areas for over 20 years. We can help you too!

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