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What is Income for Purposes of Calculating Alimony and Child Support?

If you are considering a divorce in the state of North Carolina, you likely have several serious concerns, such as child support calculations, child visitation schedules, the equitable division of marital assets, where you will live after a divorce, and even alimony payments. In many cases, financial issues are at the forefront of a person’s mind as they consider divorce. Child support and alimony calculations will often be based upon a person’s income. If you are anxious about how much you will have to pay (or how much will receive) for either child support or alimony following a divorce, you will first need to look at how much income you have. The following is a brief guide to how income is calculated in the state of North Carolina for the purposes of calculating child support or alimony in divorce.

Calculation of Income in North Carolina

Both spouses will have to provide information to the court regarding their income. The determination of income can involve several factors. Most times it will include a W-2 IRS statement, or if you are an independent contractor, proof of wages for the previous year. Additionally, the court may look at pay stubs or other financial proof such as tax returns to show how much a person takes as income.

Trying to Manipulate the Court

Some spouses will go to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to avoid paying child support or alimony. If a spouse is unemployed or is not able to be employed, then obviously they will either have a reduction or elimination of their responsibility to pay child support or alimony. However, in some cases, a spouse will purposefully quit their job or take a lower-paying job simply to avoid paying full child support or alimony. In these cases, the court typically discovers this spouse’s actions when their current wages appear vastly different from their previous year’s tax returns or W-2 statements.

Imputing Income

In cases in which the court believes that a spouse has the ability to earn more income and is intentionally attempting to avoid payment of child support or alimony, the court will actually “impute” income to the spouse. This means that the court will assume that because a spouse can earn a certain amount, that amount will be taken into consideration as the actual income that the spouse brings in, even if the spouse is unemployed or working for a lower wage or salary. Courts impute income when it is clear that one spouse is attempting to defraud the entire system by creating a financial picture that does not truly represent the amount of money that they used to bring in or that they could easily earn.

Calculating Alimony in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina does not have a specific and exact mathematical formula for calculating alimony payments. However, there is a calculator that uses an alimony formula adopted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers that can help a spouse estimate how much alimony payments will potentially be in their particular circumstances.

Calculating Child Support in North Carolina

The Division of Social Services in North Carolina provides a quick online calculator that will help spouses understand what their child support obligations will be following a divorce. In most cases, these calculations take into account not only how much a spouse makes as income, but also how much time each spouse will spend with the child, as well as health insurance costs, work-related childcare, and other expenses associated with raising a child. Typically, the income of one spouse is calculated by taking gross income and then subtracting the following line items on the paystub:

  1. Taxes including Medicare, FICA, and Federal and State taxes
  2. Health insurance premiums
  3. Alimony payments
  4. Additional child support required related to a different case

It is important to remember that every divorce case is different, and 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 Mooresville, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today for your free consultation.