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Going through divorce is understandably a difficult process both emotionally and financially. This is particularly true if you and your spouse share minor children.

When it comes to your children, child support remains a major area of conflict and confusion for many divorcing couples. Here is glimpse at how the state of North Carolina handles child support cases during the dissolution of a marriage.

What exactly is child support in North Carolina?

Child support refers to court-ordered payments that a parent must make to help cover the cost of rearing a child. Child support obligations in this state typically last until a child reaches the age of 18. However, these obligations may continue until the child has turned 20 years old if he or she is still a high school student.

Receive child support through a voluntary agreement

You can receive financial support for your child from your future ex-spouse in several ways. First, you and the other party may decide on your own how you would like to address child support. Then, you can put together a mutually satisfactory agreement and request that a judge approve your voluntary support agreement, also known as a VSA. This is an ideal way of dealing with a child support conflict, as it can help to mitigate stress and conflict between you and the other party in the years ahead.

Receive child support through a court action

Another avenue through which people have obtained child support is through civil court actions. A dependent child’s custodial parent, his or her guardian or an organization may bring this type of court action. If you are the parent seeking support, you can start your child support application process by getting in touch with North Carolina’s Child Support Services, or CSS. This agency can help with establishing support obligations, collecting and distributing support, and even enforcing support obligations.

Child support calculations

The court will determine how much you or the other party will pay in child support based on the state’s support guidelines. Judges use a relatively complicated formula to arrive at support amounts.

However, the most important factors that a judge will consider in your case include your income, the other parent’s income, daycare costs, medical insurance costs and your children’s living arrangements. Given the complex nature of the child support process, an attorney can walk you through your specific situation and help you to pursue the most personally favorable outcome considering the circumstances surrounding your child support case.