Income, Alimony, and Child Support

Divorce causes a great deal of both emotional and financial stress. While many people worry about the division of marital assets and how they will pay off debts and their financial state during a divorce, many people also worry about what their finances will look like following a divorce. In many cases, this will directly relate to how much child support and alimony they will either have to pay, or how much they will receive. In both cases, the income of a spouse will determine how much child support and alimony he or she will receive in the state of North Carolina. If you are curious about how your income will be calculated and used to make decisions regarding child support and alimony payments, learn more below.

Calculation of Income for Divorce Purposes in North Carolina

Both spouses will typically have to complete a full financial disclosure as part of the divorce process. As a result, the court will then see exactly how much each person makes and make determinations regarding the equitable division of property and debts as well as child support and alimony calculations. Courts will not only look at paystubs, but also at W-2s and other forms of income identification, especially if one party is an independent contractor or owns their own business. In some cases, the court will also look to previous tax returns to determine income.

Never Lie or Attempt to Defraud the Court

In some cases, a spouse truly does not want to pay spousal support (alimony) or child support after the divorce. In an attempt to avoid making these payments, a spouse may go to unbelievable lengths including quitting their job. Their rationale is that if they do not have any income then they will not be forced to make either child support or alimony payments. First, it is important to note that any lies on court documents could be considered fraud and a court may issue severe penalties for such actions. Additionally, if it appears that a person made the decision to quit their job, or take a job with a great reduction in salary, the court will impute income to that spouse even if they do not make that amount of money right now.

Courts Imputing Income

Courts have the legal right to “impute” income to a spouse. This means that even if a spouse is not making a certain amount of money, if they could easily make that amount of money given their educational experience or work history, they have the capacity to do so yet are choosing not to. In many cases, judges get frustrated with a spouse who makes this decision. Therefore, they will “impute” income to the spouse and assume that they make more money than they actually do for the purposes of child support and spousal support calculations.

Calculations of Alimony in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina does not have a neat formula by which they make alimony determinations. Rather, there is an alimony formula adopted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers that can help a family court determine what the spousal support or alimony calculations should be for each particular divorce circumstance.

Calculations of Child Support in North Carolina

While there is no calculator for alimony payments, The Division of Social Services in North Carolina does provide a calculator that will determine the amount of child support in a divorce. These calculations will take into account the income of a spouse as well as their other financial obligations, such as health insurance, childcare expenses, as well as medical, educational, and extracurricular expenses. A court has wide discretion to make additional calculations and may only use this calculator as a basis for which they start adding or subtracting amounts. It is important to remember that every divorce case is different. Consulting 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. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today for your free consultation.