Will someone PLEASE EXPLAIN child support?

Have you run the child support calculator on this website?

First off, if you and your husband have 50/50 custody why is he paying child support at all? I thought that with 50/50 there would be minimal to no child support and that each parent would bear the costs they incur when the child is with them.

Secondly, just because your ex husband pays child support does not relieve you of financial responsibility for your son Both parents are to provide financial support. Your ex is carrying his share of the financial responsibility via child support.

When your son is with you, payment for school lunches, clothes, school supplies, etc. should come out of your pocket. When your son is with your ex, payment for these expenses should come out of the ex’s pocket. That’s fair and equitable.

Even with 50/50 custody one parent or the other usually receives child support unless the parents make the exact same amount of money. Think of it this way: If it takes $100 per month to raise a child, and your split was 30/70 then your X pays you $70 a month and that is his share of the total cost. You are still responsible for your portion. If you are receiving child support then he is paying his share to you. You would be responsible for any expense that is related to maintenance and care of that child.
Now, if you were not receiving child support and had 50/50 with equal time, then yes, what would be fair and equal is that you both pay for what is due during your time and would split any extra costs 50/50. Hope that clears things up some for you.

I thought someone was going to explain child support on this forum. I want to know why it is left up to a judge to determine how much of my money it takes to raise my child. If I make $1000/month and I have to pay 40% then $400/month is what it takes to raise a child. If I make $10,000/month then $4,000 is what it takes to raise my child (or whatever the max is). Before I was taken to court and my child was taken from me for no good reason I had him most of the time and it sure didn’t take that much to raise my child. Then I have someone tell me that I’m having to to offset her utility and mortgage costs. Call me crazy but that sounds like we are still living off and old law back from when the ladies didn’t normally work. That goes for alimony too. I believe in supporting my child and supported him by myself prior to him being taken away from me. No financial help from anyone! Instead of some judge giving an amount that you have to pay that clearly isn’t what it takes to raise a child I believe you should have to come to an amount that is cost to actually raise your child and have to split it between the parents. I would even be satisfied with the current arrangements if she would have to show where her $1400/month is applied to my child and not her & her husband. Courts don’t even require that.

[i]Originally posted by chomedr2002[/i] [br]I thought someone was going to explain child support on this forum.

No one, not even an attorney, can explain child support because it makes no sense whatsoever. The “guidelines” are a joke. And the “accounting” system used to track payments is worse than a joke.

It is not normally left up to the judge to just come up with a number out of thin air. The child support guidelines reflect each parent’s income, insurance costs, child care costs, other child support obligations and # of overnights the child spends with each parent. The court can rule more or less depending on circumstances but the guidelines are set. If you are paying $400 or 40% of your monthly salary then your X is responsible(or supposed to be)for the remaining 60% it takes to raise that child. It only seems to follow old laws because still, in this day and age, most women do not make as much as men do. This system is not perfect by any means and there are a lot of groups trying to get some of the laws changed. Check out www.deltabravo.net.
I completely agree with you on the last post. Some months it takes three times what my husband pays in child support…and some months it doesn’t seem to take even the amount that he pays. We also share 50/50 custody with equal time but he still ended up paying $500 per month on top of paying for everything else. We constantly hear, “Mom said she didn’t have the money”. It came down to the difference in salaries.
I have never understood how the courts can come up with that figure and require it to be paid or face jail time but do not require the other parent to show that the money is actually used for the child. The children are the ones that ALWAYS lose in custody cases. It’s better to work out something between you and your X that you both can live with, than to take it through court…that’s just my opinion though.

Part of ‘raising a child’ is also housing that child. It is also feeding that child. My sister’s ex complained constantly that the child support he sent was not ‘going to the child’. She insisted it did (directly AND indirectly). She finally took a 2 months of expenses, bills and divided them up using the percentages used in the worksheet (in this case 40% her/ 60% him due to salary difference and that she pays health insurance). She did a snazzy excel worksheet and included EVERYTHING (housing, food (itemized with copies of only the food the kids ate), cell phones, cable, school lunched, clothes, school supplies, sports expenses, kids entertainment, any personal items bought for them only, medical extras…everything). Doing the percentages, you saw that it was a pretty fair split…actually falling to the Mom’s side of paying for more than “40%”.

Dinners out, personal Mom-Kid time entertainment and vacations or birthday gifts were not included. The ex looked at it and realized that it’s not all about clothes, daycare and ‘stuff’ that goes into child support. Its not an exact science and it can be abused by the receiving parent (unfortunately). But there are cases where the receiving parent DOES NOT have extra money for ‘extras’ that might have come if 2 parents were in the home. I have heard and seen both sides.

I’m sorry that you are having a difficult time financially but it sounds as though there are some things that you may want to consider:

  1. run the child support calculator on this site and see what comes up. If there is a 15% or more difference it may be worth it for you to file for a modification. For example: if child care costs have increased or if there are some “extraordinary expenses”
  2. What can you do to change your situation? Can you get a better paying job?
  3. Your ex should be paying for your son’s expenses when he is with him and vice versa. You should each be able to maintain your own households.
  4. Who is paying for your son’s insurance?
  5. Can you adjust your living expenses? Refinance your house, pay less rent, get a less expensive car so you are paying out less money each month.
[i]Originally posted by mal[/i] [br] 2. What can you do to change your situation? Can you get a better paying job?

I believe this was intended for the originator of this post but in reply to you statement, if you get a better paying job you ex is happier because you have to pay them more money. Personally, I don’t have a car payment and am only paying $700/month for rent for a 3BR house. I am taking care of my mother so I needed the third room. I don’t have any extracorricular activities since I work every free day I have just to make ends meet. How is it possible that is fair? She gets $1400/month outside of what she and her husband makes. Working 40 hours OT every two weeks I bring home about $1800. I get $300 to pay bills, buy food and gas.

Sorry, I don’t mean to take from the originator of this post but this is a touching subject for me.


How about this…

I have my kids most of the daylight hours (every day afterschool until about 6) and all day during the summer but he gets credit for the day because they spend the night with him. He makes twice as much as me and I pay him child support plus the expenses that occur during my visitation.

(I worked nights so that is why they were even with him)

To Chromedr2002 - I would suggest that you look into modifying your child support. Run the calculator if you have knowledge of what your ex’s salary is and see what it comes up with. The courts don’t care about what other expenses you have and your ex may have little regard for your circumstances. The thing to keep in mind is that child support isn’t necessarily just a percentage but it is based on what you both make. It sounds as though, you are paying more than you should, or your ex makes a lot less than you do. I ran the calculator with you having your child 80 nights, which is normal visitations, a salary of $1800 for you and $500 for your spouse. No child care cost or insurance and I came up with you paying her $354.52 per month. Even if your X doesn’t make ANY money you should only be paying $369.00 according to the calculator. Again, I don’t have all your numbers but you really should look into why you are paying $1400 in child support.

To Justprettynpink - I would say that you should speak to an attorney about this. A good attorney should be able to present to the courts that though you do not have your children overnight, you do have them daily instead of having them in child care. This could be cause to vary from the guidelines. This should count for something since you really do have more equal time than most parents do. Your situation sounds ideally 50/50 and (just my opinion) neither of you should pay child support.

This is my definition of child support, Child Support is a percentage of money that is giving to the parent that does not have the financial mean to help support that child( not moms) needs (not wants).So if someone is paying child support the are fulfilling their financial responsibility as far as the courts are concern.

I disagree, Fatherdoright. What if both parents are comfortable in their salaries, and the Mom has primary custody? The non-custodial parent would still technically and legally owe child support, correct?

Think about if the parents were still married. How do you measure what one parent ‘pays’ to support that child? Just because divorce occurs doesn’t mean that child is not the financial responsibility of both parents until they’re 18. I sense some defensiveness in both you AND nowinsituation because the system may be seeming unfair, OR the system hasn’t put your situation as you want it to be. There are always special circumstances where the system doesn’t seem to work. BUT it usually ends up that one parent has signed something maybe they shouldn’t have, OR once something was in place, they didn’t like it or it wasn’t like they thought it would be.

It would be nice if the custodial parent didn’t have to depend on child support to live and support their kids, but most times they do. Even if living modestly at first, a 50-60% cut in family income is hard (if both parents were working).

SORRY FATHERDORIGHT!!! I misread your post. It was confusing with the wording. I agree. As far as the courts are concerned, the parent paying child support has fulfilled his/her financial obligation to the child. Whatever extras he/she wants to provide is up to them. It is the HOPE that the receiving parent will manage that money smartly, but there are many folks who are bad money managers–period.

There is no easy way for a state to set guidelines on support, but they must do it. The rational for the guidelines in this state is an income sharing model. They assume that if a couple had stayed married they would have spend a certain percentage of their income on their child. When the parties separate they try to allocate those costs between parents. I do not know of any system that everyone thinks is fair, but they must have something. The system in North Carolina eliminates uncertainty and makes everyone aware of exactly what their obligation is. If either parent feels the obligation is too low or too high they may make a motion to deviate from the guidelines, in rare cases those requests are granted.

The purpose of child support is to allow the receiving parent to use it to pay for the needs of the child or children whatever that may be, that includes, groceries, heat, a place to live, clothing.

If you feel the current child support guidelines are unfair you can have a voice in that by contacting your local representative and letting the know your opinions on the matter.

Helena M. Nevicosi
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

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
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.


If you feel the current child support guidelines are unfair you can have a voice in that by contacting your local representative and letting the know your opinions on the matter.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

Good luck with that. I have contacted not only the rep for my area, but everyone in the senate and house. The only response I got was to contact my rep. No response from them. I believe they know it is going to be political suicide for the poor soul that says enough is enough and makes the parent receiving child support be accountable.

Concerned dad.

I share 50/50 custody. I receive child support from the ex. I receive alimony from the ex. I work. My income with child support, alimony, and my salary is less than 1/3 of the ex’s income. For some reason, it appears to my ex, the judge, ex’s lawyer that I should pay for everything for my child simply because I receive “child support”! All of a sudden, I receive “child support” so therefore, my ex is supporting my child by paying me child support and I, in turn, am supposed to bear the full weight of support for my child! My ex refuses to pay for lunch for my child at school! He wants to provide a separate residence,but I’m supposed to provide everything else! He’s doing his part. He pays me “child support”. Nothing else is supposed to come out of his pocket for my son. I don’t get it.