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What divorcing parents need to know about child support

by | Aug 14, 2020 | Child Custody & Support

Parents seeking a divorce in North Carolina should be aware of the differences between accepting a settlement versus hashing out the matter in court. For many parents, their first instinct is to decline a settlement until their former spouse agrees to pay a certain amount. But in some cases, taking a settlement can actually be a beneficial arrangement for both parties.

For custodial parents seeking child support, accepting a settlement makes it more likely that the other party will pay in full. That’s because they’ll be paying on their terms. The custodial parent might also be able to request add-ons, like their former spouse paying for certain school activities. For non-custodial parents, a settlement can be ideal because they can negotiate a deal that works for them instead of sticking to the court-ordered formula.

Child support usually ends once the child is legally emancipated. The age can vary across different states; in North Carolina, it’s 18, but it’s 21 in other states. However, it’s possible to negotiate an agreement that requires the other parent to continue paying support after the child has aged out of the system. To figure out a fair child support payment, parents can evaluate their monthly budget, which might include food, clothing, rent, school activities and more.

Divorced parents seeking child support may wish to speak with a family law attorney. A lawyer might be able to help a client evaluate their budget, figure out how much child support they need and negotiate a fair deal with the other party. They could potentially help the parent negotiate the highest possible amount and present their strongest case to the court. Furthermore, an attorney could help a client decide if they should accept a settlement.