The Graham.Nuckolls.Conner. Law Firm, PLLC - Greenville Family Lawyer
Call Now for Help
Local: 252-493-6114
Toll Free: 800-682-1756

What is deviation from child support guidelines in NC?

The legal system is, by its nature, a system of rules. It has rules about who can file lawsuits and motions, where they can be filed, and even, in some instances, what color paper needs to be used. The family court system in North Carolina is no different. There are numerous laws, both state and federal, that govern the interactions of spouses and other family members when a divorce or other proceeding, like the establishment of a child support obligation, is pending. The purpose of all these rules is, in general, to make things fair so that parties are treated under the same set of guidelines.

One of these sets of rules in family law are the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are based upon federal models and purport to allow a court to determine a reasonable amount of child support based upon the number of children involved and the incomes of the parents, among other factors. Most of the time, the numbers are placed into the guideline formula, and the number that comes out is the amount of child support ordered.

However, North Carolina law does allow for deviation from the guideline amount in certain circumstances. Because the amount of child support dictated by the guidelines is only considered a 'presumptive' payment amount, in cases where there are circumstances that overcome that presumption, a different amount may be ordered. This is not easy, however, as the law requires that the court, in such cases, make specific findings that the guideline amount would exceed or fall short of the child's reasonable needs or would otherwise be inappropriate or unjust.

In order to deviate, the law requires that the judge list written findings about what the guideline amount is, what the reasonable needs of the child involved are, what circumstances make the guideline amount unjust or inadequate, and upon what basis the new support amount was calculated. As may be apparent, this is not something that happens in most cases, and only extraordinary circumstances will lead to a child support deviation in North Carolina. With that being said, those who feel like they are justified in a deviation should be prepared to make strong legal arguments as to why they think the court should issue such an order.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Office Location

The Graham.Nuckolls.Conner. Law Firm, PLLC
321 Evans Street, Suite 200
Hendrix Building
Greenville, NC 27858

Toll Free: 800-682-1756
Phone: 252-493-6114
Fax: 252-757-3563
Map & Directions

Hear From Us Today

Bold labels are required.


The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy