Many parents understand that if they are not married to their child’s other parent, they may still be responsible for financial support. Paying child support may seem straightforward, as it is typically based on the parents’ levels of income. However, the income of many people tends to fluctuate, whether that is because payment for their job varies or because they have periods where they receive less or no pay. Fortunately, courts in North Carolina will take income fluctuations into account when determining child support.
For those whose income changes unexpectedly, perhaps due to a job loss or a change in the level of compensation, the court will want to know why. If the person can show that the change was uncontrollable, such as in the case of a layoff or demotion due to fluctuations in business, the court may be more understanding. However, if the parent chose a lower-paying job or got fired, he or she may still be expected to pay the same amount of support. In either case, the parent may have to show evidence that he or she is actively looking for employment at the previous compensation level.
Some people have jobs where they don’t make the same amount of money each month. Perhaps they work on commission or own their own business. It may make sense to arrange to pay a percentage of income, with minimums and maximums built into the plan. The parent may not wish to give specific information regarding income to the other parent, but using a neutral third party, such as an accountant may help avoid this problem.
Whatever the parents’ life circumstances may be, the one thing that will not change is the needs of children. Money helps provide care for kids, whether it pays for food, housing, education or other necessary costs. If two parents cannot agree about child support payments, working with a family law attorney may be the next step. An attorney will work to make sure a new or existing agreement is fair to all parties involved and prioritizes the care of the children it serves.