Determining Income for Alimony and Child Support Calculations

Along with the emotional stress of a divorce, spouses often feel a great deal of financial stress and anxiety. Many questions may cross their mind, including, “Where will I live after the divorce?” “How will the marital assets be divided?” “Will I assume most of the debt?” “How will the marital home be equitably divided?” Additionally, along with the financial issues that are finalized in a divorce, there are some financial issues that will be ongoing after a divorce. These typically include alimony and child support payments. If you are curious how your child support calculations and alimony payments are tied to your income, you are not alone. Learn more about how your income will be determined for purposes of child support and alimony calculations in the state of North Carolina.

Determining Income in North Carolina

Both spouses will have to provide an accounting of their wages and income if child support or alimony is a consideration within the divorce. The most common way to do this is to provide a W-2 income statement, pay stub, or if you are an independent contractor, some other proof of your wages for the year. The court may take into account one or more years of your wages and look at tax returns in an attempt to determine not only how much you make now, but also how much you typically would make in your particular field. The reason that a court attempts to determine how much a person would typically make is due to fraud.

Fraud Regarding Income

In some cases, a spouse will attempt to commit fraud by either providing incorrect information regarding their income (which may result in harsh penalties from the court) or simply quitting their job in an attempt to avoid paying child support or alimony. In some cases, a person will simply take a job that pays considerably less than their previous job in an attempt to manipulate the court calculations and try to make it so that they will pay less in child support and alimony. These tactics typically are easy to spot. If a court makes the determination that a spouse could make more income than they currently do, and that they are attempting to either defraud or manipulate the court, the judge may actually impute income to that spouse.

Imputing Income

If a spouse has the ability, as well a history of making more money than they currently do, and it appears that they may have left their job or taken a different job simply due to the reduction in salary, the court may make the bold step of imputing income to the spouse. Imputing income means that the court does not look at what the spouse is currently making in order to make child support and alimony calculations. Rather, the court looks at what the spouse previously made, or considering their education, what the spouse could easily make in the marketplace. The court will then use these calculations to make determinations regarding alimony and child support.

Alimony in North Carolina

There is no specific calculator for alimony in the state of North Carolina. However, there is an alimony formula adopted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers which spouses in North Carolina can use to estimate how much alimony payments will potentially be in their particular circumstances.

Child Support in North Carolina

The Division of Social Services in North Carolina does provide a calculator for spouses to roughly determine how much their child support payments will be. Again, remember that a court will take into account the income of both spouses, along with how much time the child spends with each parent and other matters such as work-related childcare costs, health insurance, and other child expenses.

It is important to remember that every divorce case is different and visiting with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights regarding child support in the state of North Carolina.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Consulting an experienced family law and divorce attorney will help you understand your rights and obligations with respect to both alimony and child support, and how your income will be calculated for these purposes. Consider visiting with an experienced divorce lawyer at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Monroe, North Carolina at 704.370.2828. Contact us by phone or online today for your free consultation.