Child Support - Which state formula?


Hello and thank you.

Custodial parent and 2 children reside in NC. Non-custodial parent resides in MD. No separation agreement in place, it has not yet been 366 days, so no divorce papers filed.

In attempting to come up with the appropriate amount of child support, do they use NC formula, or MD formula?

I saw an entry about using “obligor” state, which I believe (??) in this case means MD. But when dealing with 2 states with such extremely different costs of living, why would the non-custodial parent be required to calculate using MD guidelines when it isn’t costing the custodial parent anything near that amount of money to raise the 2 children in a tiny NC town? Doesn’t that leave the non-custodial parent with less ability to take care of themselves, while the custodial parent and children live “high on the hog.”

Additionally - if the CS is in fact calculated using MD formula, which state’s guidelines take precedence for actual divorce proceedings? Which state’s rules are followed? I thought it always followed the children, but am seeing some contradiction in the forum posts.

Looking for clarification. Thank you.


I could be wrong about this but I believe that the child support would be based on the residence of the child/children. I believe that in your case, you would use MD if you were filing but if the custodial parent resides in NC they would use NC guidelines.
I have not seen anything on “obligor” states…

For the divorce, I’m fairly sure that it would depend on who files. I always thought that it would need to be filed in the county where the couple lived while married or at the time of separation, but I believe that you can file using another state once you become a resident of that state…
Say you moved to NC from another state; as long as the separation time is met and the residency requirement of 6 months is met, you could file in NC. I do not know what MD laws or requirements are for absolute divorce so it may be in your best interest to look into that. It may be easier to obtain a divorce in NC than MD…if so and that is what would work best for you and your stbx, you could alway agree to let the NC spouse file and reimburse her/him for 1/2 the costs. As long as the papers are signed by you once you receive them, I think the cost would be minimal and would not have to go to court.


Yes, the state where the obligor lives (the one paying support) is the state in which child support should be calculated, the uniform family support act sets forth this rule. You can however come to an agreement on child support and consent to use the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
As for Equitable Distribution of property, that action lies where the property is situated, or where parties lived during the last years of the marriage.
After the property issues have been settled (or adjudicated by a court) the divorce can proceed in either state.



Which section of the UIFSA are you referring to?


Chapter 50 NCGS, section 13.5 ©(1).