Child Support - What's it for


Poor Billy are you confused. We all know what child support is supposed to be used for, understand this once a support order has been put in place the only thing you are responsible for is just that.but just because you gotta pay child support you still are a parent and if she wants to enroll the child in activities and buy expensive clothing for the child thats her right and you shouldn’t have to share the cost. but don’t weigh money vs a childs love, I don’t think money is important to a child butI think time spent with a child will last in their minds forever.


Dear Billy,

Child Support in NC is set as guidelines for support children based on the incomes of both parents and what amount is said to meet their basic needs. Expenses for extra curricular activities are generally thought to be over and above a basic child support amount. However, the parents would have to agree on such expenses and how they would choose to pay the added expenses. It sounded like you may have been confused about the percentage of income issue for child support. The percentage has to do with what percent each parent pays for the overall needs of the child and is determined by the incomes of both parents. Specifically, child expenses are shared by the percentage of earnings, such as one parent pays 60% and the other pays 40% of expenses (guideline amount or otherwise). The amount each parent contributes to the child support is dictated by the combined earnings of both parents, and shared in proportion to their income. The amount of overnights with a parent is worked into the NC guidelines by the formula and determined by using the appropriate worksheet. Hope that helps. Check out our web site for more information.

Deborah M. Throm
Rosen Law Firm
1829 E. Franklin Street, Bldg. 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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4101 Lake Boone Trail
Suite 500
Raleigh, NC 27607
919.256.1544 direct
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301 McCullough Drive
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Charlotte, NC 28262
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At all but very low income levels, the NC Child Support Guidelines provide for child support awards far in excess of any typical child’s reasonable needs. Consider the hypothetical case of custodial mother earning $40K/yr, and non-custodial father earning $60K/year. To keep things simple, let’s say there are no extraordinary expenses, health insurance costs, child care costs, bad faith, or imputation of income. According to Guidelines Schedule A, the cost (i.e. “total child support obligation”) to raise this child is appr. $930/mo. Please


You are so clueless. How much do you think it cost for a parent to put a roof over a childs head? Then you add the cost of furniture, electric, water, food, cloths, school activities, school supplies, car, car insurance, … The list goes on. The non-custodial parents only obligation is that one check every month. They are not required to pay a dime more.


Wake Dad…remember that this is for clothes, food, utilities, rent/mortgage, activities/clubs, … We pay quite a bit to the ex in child support each month for 3 childrenut it really isn’t something that we begrudge.
I can start adding it up and easily realize that if they were living with us all of our costs would probably double or triple.
What I would like to see is some sort of tax relief for paying child support. It seems unfair that you can claim alimony but not child support.


Sandy, I you are somewhat right but let break down your response,now more than likley when one leaves the martial home they left all everything in the house so what furniture should they pay for, who clothes are we payin for, spouse or kids either way clothes are not bought every month $1000 dollars can buy a teenager clothes for the whole year,(humm)unless we are buying clothes for mom and moms boyfriend. let say the child is a senior in school $2000 will pay for all school activities, and thats buying shoes and uniforms for all sports and it will pay for all the extras that seniors will have. Why should people have to pay for a car and car insurance and if so why can’t they pick the car. I do agree that unresponsible parents should be made to take care of their CHILDREN but with in financial reason. The law should be modified that every six moth the child support recipient should provide a counselor with all reciepts related to child support expenses.and adjust accordingly. Parents have no problem taking care of their child financially but not the taking care of the other parent and their desires.


Let’s try and do some math…
Rent or mortgage - in most areas providing a 3BR house or apt would cost at least $600 but could be as much as $1200/month or more
Utilities - water, gas, electricity, cable, phone for same size house - $250 or more depending on age of house and time of year
Food for 2-3 children - conservatively I would say $400-500/month
Clothing and shoes (depending how quickly the child grows and their age) - $100-200/month
Misc (soap/shampoo/cosmetics etc) - $50/month
Out of pocket medical expenses including copay amounts, OTC drugs - $100-$200/month
Allowance for kids/school expenses - $100-$200/month
Gas needed to transport kids/insurance for children on vehicles - $100-$300/month
It adds up…I don’t think most custodial parents are squandering their child support money on needless expenses. But it would be nice for those paying child support to get some sort of tax credit.


I’m sure that every case is different, and you will always find someone that will abuse the system and their children by spending money meant for the child’s care for themselves. Most custodial parents are not supporting their own excessive lifestyle or that of their boy/girl friend. I receive roughly $800 a month for 3 kids. I work full time and try my hardest to support my kids in the same manner they were prior to their fathers departure. Dad has bought a new home, new furniture, a new Mercedes and still supports his alcohol and drug habit. The victim here is the kids. Their father makes them pack their lunch when he does take them on a day trip. “I’ve already paid your mom for your meals.”

There are always bad and good. The system has hurt me and my kids more than helped us, but instead of complain, I have accepted and worked my hardest to give the kids what they need and deserve.


Sandy…have you gone through the child support calculator on this website? Maybe you are entitled to more money?


Sandy yoou recieve $800 a month on top of your regular salary and you are struggling unless you are not working or making minimum wages I can not feel your pain, seems like your more worried about what he has.


Fatherdoright - in all likelihood Sandy does not make as much as her husband. I don’t think she is being bitter - just observant. Perhaps you have some additional emotional baggage over this issue but I’m a 2nd wife and we pay child support for 3 children that is well in excess of $800 and I can easily understand that his wife, even though she works, needs to use all of that money to support the house and the kids.


As for housing, only the marginal cost of providing for the child should be considered. For example, if a one bedroom apartment rents for $700/mo and a two bedroom apartment rents for $900, the cost for the child is $200/mo, not $450/mo. As for utilities, the dwelling needs to be climate-controlled when anyone is present. There is likely some added cost due to the children, but not much. Granted, children will use some additional electricity and water, but not much. Children do not need cars. That’s a luxury. If you can afford it, great. If not, that’s just tough. Yes, I will agree that a custodial parent would need to purchase a small amount of additional gasoline to take the kids to their activities and perhaps to their jobs. You have to pay auto insurance for your vehicle regardless of whether you have children or not. Same goes for homeowners or renter’s insurance. Furniture is something purchased only very infrequently. You might buy a couch for yourself whether or not you had any children. Same for the kitchen table. So, how much of this furniture cost is properly attributable to children? Not much, I’d say. Of course, there is the legitimate cost of providing a bed and some bedroom furniture for the children. Same goes for recreational activities and some school supplies. Food cost is highly variable, depending on gender and age; i.e. older boys will consume more food than younger girls. But, even strapping boys playing linebacker on the high school football team don’t need a steady diet of shrimp and filet mignon. A balanced diet of chicken, hamburger, and green vegetables is quite sufficient. Kids don’t need designer clothes, either. A stylish wardrobe purchased from a combination of Walmart/Target/Marshalls, with perhaps an occasional item from the clone-like overpriced stores at the big malls, seems perfectly adequate to me.

Perhaps some non-custodial parents don’t spend any money on their kids. I suspect they are a small minority. Most non-custodial parents I know buy their children birthday presents, Christmas presents, clothes, take them out for meals, take them to cultural/recreational activities and on summer vacations, send them to summer camp, and do spend quite a bit of money on them. What about their costs associated with exercising their custodial time with the children? The Guidelines do not take this into account. You might get a judge to deviate based on this argument. Good luck. To assume that a non-custodial parent doesn’t spend money on his children because he is not required to do so is indicative of faulty reasoning.

Not all custodial parents squander the funds they receive. There does need to be more accountability, however.

Custodial parents often do benefit personally from the child support funds they receive. I like the suggestion that the obligor parent receive a tax break for paying child support, and the recipient parent incur additional tax liability for receiving child support. The time to equalize the playing field is long past due. As I asserted earlier, the monthly payments required by the Guidelines are, in most cases, far in excess of the child’s reasonable needs. This engenders disrespect for “the system” and is a contributing factor to the arrears incurred by many non-custodial parents. What do custodial parents do with this extra money? Whatever they want. It’s very easy for a custodial parent to treat child support funds - money she doesn’t earn - as play money. Easy come, easy go. I will concede that at lower incomes, the amount of Guidelines support may, in some cases, not meet the child’s legitimate needs. There are no good solutions here. $800/mo for three kids does seem a bit on the low side to me. On the other hand, perhaps the custody statutes should be changed so that the court must specifically consider the financial fitness of both parents as a major factor in its custody determination.

Finally, any custodial parent dissatisfied with the amount of child support she receives may move the court for an increase. All you have to do is claim hardship and exaggerate your needs and expenses and those of the children. Don’t forget to utter the magic words “for the children!” and your wish will soon be granted. For as we all know, the legitimate needs of children are always increasing, especially when the income of the non-custodial parent increases. (And yes, I’m well aware of the case law on the matter.) Most custodial parents are getting a “free ride,” courtesy of their children and a perverted child support system. Enjoy it while it lasts.


If you will check a court’s financial affidavit, you will notice that half of the household expenses are attributed to the child(ren) who live(s) there. Contrary to WakeDad’s opinion that child support is extra play money for the custodial parent, child support is calculated as “income” to the recipient. Although the money isn’t taxed, it is NOT simply extra money to be spent solely on the child. The court takes the child support award into consideration when calculating spousal support (if awarded) and there is NO gain with a child support award! It helps to provide the basic necessities of life- the bills. That’s it.


Child support and spousal support are two entirely different entities. 100% of child support funds should be expended for the child’s benefit, and none (or very little) for the benefit of the custodial parent. Practically speaking, a small amount of overlap may be inevitable. “Child support by definition is for the benefit of the minor children…” Belcher v. Averette, 152 N.C. App. 452, 568 S.E.2d 630 (2002). Sometimes, as xmedwife states, the courts do a little social engineering and base child support on spousal support, and vice-versa. This is highly improper and muddles the definition and intent of our child support system.

xmedwife’s assertion that, on a financial affidavit required by most courts in a child support action, “half of the household expenses are attributed to the child(ren) who live(s) there” is not correct. On the Wake County financial affidavit form ( … ts/101.pdf), there is a section entitled “Non-Prorated Monthly Expenses.” Nowhere on this form is it stated that half of the household expenses are to be attributed to the children. Perhaps the forms of other North Carolina counties contain different wording. Even if this is indeed the case, the judge gets to do whatever the judge wants to do with the expenses a parent claims on the form. If a judge wants to attribute half of the ongoing household expenses to the children


Its funny how child support and alimony is only a issue when a women is asking for it but when a man ask for it they say we already make enough money to support ourselves and the kids ro have potential earning ability. Does anybody know of a father who has been granted child support and alimony


Yes, my sister-in-law pays her ex both child support and alimony.


Creating a tax benefit for the non-custodial parent is an EXCELLENT IDEA. And as for the comment about there not being many custodial parents who are not using this money properly - WHATEVER. It is seen too often. I know it’s not everybody, but it is surely a majority. Below is my vent on this subject before:

Long, but need understanding and wanting to vent.

First, I don


mostly to “frustrated”…I hear you!!! My husband is the trying to be a good dad, trying to be involved with his kids lives, calling them, picking them up and dropping them off on time, paying support on time…what do we get in return? Manipulation, lies, using our time with the children to take them on trips that she notifies us off at the last minute, neglecting to tell us about important events for the kids so we have to call schools, teachers and church to make sure we know. All so she can play the part of the victim…and it really is a “part” as the only victim in this scenario is my husband who now is deprived of regular contact with the children he loves.


My fiancee also has a bitter, vindictive ex-wife, who does not work, and collects $1400 a month in child support, as well as food stamps, and medicaid. I feel so much animosity towards this woman that it makes me physically ill. I hate feeling that way, but I absolutely detest this woman. She makes my fiancee’s life a living hell, keeps information from him about school, doesn’t let him have copies of report cards, will not let him know about conferences, etc. And when the kids come over every other weekend, they come over with a long list of stuff that he needs to buy them because she can’t afford it. Get a job you worthless woman!!! Child support is to support the children, yet he is also supporting this deadbeat ex-wife. There absolutely should be accountability!!!


If he wants to get copies of the report cards or wants to know about parent conferences, etc. in advance, why doesn’t he talk to his child’s (children’s) teacher(s) about informing him of this information? As a teacher (and a parent that is separated) I currently supply information to non-custodial parents about their child’s progress when they tell me they would like to be informed. I just email or call the NCP about any upcoming events, conferences, etc. so that they WILL know without having to communicate with the custodial parent. But only if they ask…I don’t take it upon myself to contact NCPs if they don’t seem to want to be a part of their child’s schooling.