Child support guidelines versus reality


The guidelines I was referring to say,
“Income” means a parent’s actual gross income from any source, including but not limited to income from employment or self-employment (salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, etc.), ownership or operation of a business, partnership, or corporation, rental of property, retirement or pensions, interest, trusts, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability pay and insurance benefits, gifts, prizes and alimony or maintenance received from persons other than the parties to the instant action. When income is received on an irregular, non-recurring, or one-time basis, the court may average or prorate the income over a specified period of time or require an obligor to pay as child support a percentage of his or her non-recurring income that is equivalent to the percentage of his or her recurring income paid for child support.

Couldn’t a free house and car (in addition to the big checks coming irregularly from the family trusts) be considered a sort of income in that those expenses that most people have to pay don’t exist?


He is out of money with no job prospects. What will happen if she tries to use the court to make him pay, since her riches “don’t count”? Obviously he can’t hire an attorney.


It depends on the reason hes out of work, If he quit or got fired then hes still responsible for payments but if he got laid off or dismissed for no fault of his own then the courts will reduce his payment because he has had a major life change due to no fault of his own.


Dear Perplexedex:

Greetings. Gifts can count as income. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


My husband’s ex was a stay-at-home mom so when she left the marriage for another man in 1997, she was awarded $1,925/month for 2 kids. She and the other man (she lives with him) have never worked a day since then. Guidelines then in effect would have been $1,520, based on his income alone. (the consent order is worded, “without arguing over whether or not the Plaintiff should be employed or should in some way contribute to the support of the children the parties have agreed to an award of child support as set forth below…”) The judge made the decision; my husband didn’t agree with it! Although she is voluntarily unemployed and has family wealth (she paid $187,500 cash for her house 5 years ago and receives sizable monetary “gifts” from her parents (per the IRS gift rule)), we’ve been told repeatedly that “that doesn’t count”. Why not? Is it because the standard of living during the brief marriage was for her not to contribute? The children’s physical needs aren’t even adequately met (foregone medical and dental care, less than adequate clothing), although she and her boyfriend spend plenty of money to entertain themselves. She’s so narcissistic my husband can’t stand up to her, but he’s unemployed and can’t keep paying this amount and can’t afford an attorney.