As a single parent, money is tight. While you budget, save, and pinch pennies where you can, child support payments can be a lifeline for you and your family. North Carolina uses a complex algorithm to calculate child support. You can find out more about how North Carolina calculates child support here. The monthly gross income and child-related expenses of both parents are factors included in the calculation. Figuring out your and the other parent’s income is easy but figuring out child-related expenses can be challenging. Below is a list of the top expenses you can include in your child support calculation.
In North Carolina, you can include:
1. Work-Related Childcare Expenses
In the child support worksheet, you can include childcare expenses you pay for while you work. These expenses include, but are not limited to, before-school and after-school care, daycare, summer camp, babysitters, and nannies.
2. Health Insurance
You should also include the cost of your child’s health insurance in the child support worksheet. You cannot claim the entire portion you pay for yourself and your family – only your child’s portion. Likewise, you cannot claim the amount your employer pays for health insurance – only the amount you pay out-of-pocket for your child’s portion. If you pay your child’s health insurance through your employer, you can find out how much it costs by checking your employer’s plan. For instance, if your employer offers insurance to employees at $100 per month and insurance for the employees plus their children for $150 per month, the child’s portion is $50 per month. $50 per month is the amount you can claim on the NC child support worksheet.
3. Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
Unreimbursed medical expenses include any money paid out-of-pocket for medical expenses incurred for the benefit of the minor child. These can include co-pays, deductibles, the cost of prescription medication after insurance, etc. The NC Child Support Guidelines include $250 per year ($20.83 per month) in unreimbursed medical expenses in the child support worksheets. If you or the other parent pay more than that on average each month, you should collect your receipts and calculate the average amount per month you pay in unreimbursed medical expenses for your child.
4. Other Extraordinary Expenses
The court will consider extraordinary expenses that do not fit into the categories listed above. Common examples of extraordinary expenses are private school tuition and transportation expenses related to visitation or exchange of the minor child. To be considered, the court must find that the extraordinary expenses are reasonable, necessary and in the child’s best interest. Speak with your attorney if you have an extraordinary expense you’d like considered.
For all the expenses above, you should collect receipts and other documentation to show the average amount you pay per month. For example, say you don’t need to put your kids in after-school care during the regular school year, but you do have to make care arrangements for the summer months. If that’s the case, take the total cost of the summer care program and divide by 12 months. That will give you the average amount of work-related childcare expenses you pay per year. So, if you pay $1200 for two months of summer care, you pay an average of $100 per month in work-related childcare expenses. $100 is the amount you should enter in your NC child support worksheet.
Child support payments are vital to a single parent household. Once child support is calculated, it takes a substantial change in circumstances to modify the payment amounts. To ensure you receive the money you’re owed, it’s important to include as many qualifying expenses as possible. If you have expenses you’d like considered, bring at least three to six months’ worth of receipts and/or other documentation to your attorney’s office. Contact our office today to learn more about your child support rights.