It sounds as though you two have had a amicable separation up until this point and I’m glad that you can do that.

1)Child support is based on salary and even with joint custody equal time if one parent makes more than the other will owe child support. the only time that child support would not be in the equation is if the parents make the same amount and have the child equal amount of time. It’s based on salary of each parent, the number of overnights with each parent and what each parent pays in insurance, daycare…

My husband and his ex share joint legal and physical custody with equal time and he still pays her $500 a month for two children. We are each responsible for things when the children are with us and equally responsible for medical/dental not covered, copays and clothing.

  1. The retirement fund is a decision that you will have to make for yourself. I can tell you that you share joint custody now and have since separation so that it’s unlikely he would get primary custody if he attempted to do so since there is no basis for this change. If you were moving away, had a change in lifestyle or began abuse or neglect then there would be cause to modify custody. As it is…even an attorney would tell him it’s unlikely that he would get primary custody.

If he makes considerably more than you do, it may not be a bad idea to file for child support. That could give you the help you need without going for his retirement fund and “stirring up” the situation. You would probably need to discuss this with him and let him know that you are going to do this. Let him know that your only other alternative would be the retirement fund with legally should have been divided as a marital asset to begin with.

BUMP…Hopefully for a response from Helena

  1. Yes, child support is based on the differential in your incomes, the payment of day-care, medical insurance or extraordinary expenses and the custodial schedule. Even in cases where the parties share time equally, the higher wage earner typically pays child support.

  2. If you have been sharing custody equally for the past two years, it is unlikely the court will upset the schedule at this point unless there is some compelling reason to do so. If you do not explore your rights and options now regarding retirement, you will regret it later.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
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Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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Hello, after 14 years of marriage, husband & I separated & have been for over two years w/ no chance of reconciliation. Assets have been equally distributed & we share custody of the children 50/50.

  1. Does NC law constitute child support based on salary even w/joint custody?

  2. When we separated, I told him I wouldn’t go for his retirement. I have none. Divorce papers have now been filed & I realize once finalized I can not change it. We do have a friendly relationship for the kid’s sake & while I did not earn the $, I could be making a mistake. In the past I mentioned the possibility of doing so & he said he’d go for full custody if I went for his retirement. I do not have the means to fight him in court as pretty much everything I make is taken to raise them & of course put in my gas tank!

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks in advance!