North Carolina Child Support Laws 2023 – All You Need to Know

When two parents no longer find themselves in a relationship, they will face many decisions going forward. From financial obligations to property division, there are countless ways to get lost in the chaos. However, it is vital for them to consider the effects of the divorce on the children they share. Each parent naturally wants to be able to continue caring for their child. However, the legal system must balance what is most beneficial for the child while trying to accommodate the parents. This includes with whom they will live and how much support should be awarded. The money from child support must reasonably pay for expenses such as healthcare, education, and everyday items such as food and clothing.

To protect children’s interests and to account for their parents’ changing circumstances, North Carolina requires a review of child support laws every four years. This ensures that the laws account for increased costs and lifestyle necessities. The most recent change in the child support guidelines took place in January 2023. It is critical to know the details of these updates. This can allow you to make sure that your child support agreement is up to date. It can also help you understand the implications for your upcoming divorce.

Child Support Laws 2023

When modifying the current laws, lawmakers consider several factors. These include tax rates, the consumer price index, and the poverty level. Because these values change, the law needs to meet the current needs. The 2023 child support guidelines most notably saw the following changes:

  • The poverty level amount was adjusted to $1,150 per month. If a parent says they are unable to make child support payments, this amount is used in the calculation. If a parent makes less than the poverty level amount, they may still be required to pay a minimum child support payment of $50 per month. Both of these values can continue to change.
  • Changes for high-income families were also included. Generally, child support is calculated using a formula that accounts for each parent’s income, the number of children, the number of nights each parent has custody, and other income-related information. If, however, parents make more than $40,000 per month (an increase from $30,000 per month), the support amount cannot be determined by the standard calculations. Instead, they are then left to the discretion of the judge, who will consider the expenses that must be paid.
  • One particular change in 2023 addressed parents who may try to modify child support orders through a change in income that is considered “in bad faith.” This phrase is generally subjective, and it does not have any case law to support it yet. However, it tries to eliminate the possibility of one parent becoming unemployed on purpose (or taking a lower-paying job) strictly to reduce their child support payments.
  • Finally, additional clarifications to healthcare considerations were added to the 2023 laws. This included adding vision insurance and uninsured medical expenses spent on vision care explicitly as a responsibility of parents and part of the determination of costs.

Additional Child Support Laws

While it is not a factor in determining how much a parent may pay or receive, new regulations in the fall of 2022 changed the payment methods. When a parent is required to pay child support through a court order, and that order is enforced by North Carolina Child Support Services, parents may make these payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal. This is an indication that the law is catching up with technology. Additional changes could be made for other financial transaction applications. Furthermore, payments can be made at Walmart Money Centers using a credit or debit card.

Changes in laws regarding payment may not seem like anything of significance. However, it does help to make the child support process easier for children and families.


Q: What Are Considered Extraordinary Expenses for Child Support in North Carolina?

A: Extraordinary expenses are those that are considered beyond normal day-to-day costs or the basic needs that a child may have. In short, it includes any expenses that benefit the child beyond their basic needs. These types of expenses include:

  • Counseling
  • Private school costs
  • Transportation for traveling
  • Summer camps
  • Medical treatments
  • Medications

Q: What Are the Child Support Rules in North Carolina?

A: Unless a parent’s rights have been terminated, every parent has the responsibility to support their children. Any parent of a dependent under the age of 18 could be required to pay child support until that child reaches the age of 18. Unless ordered by a court in extenuating circumstances, non-parents are not obligated to pay any support.

Q: Is North Carolina Strict on Child Support?

A: North Carolina has a firm expectation that both parents will be responsible for raising their children. That means both parents have an obligation to contribute financially to the costs associated with that duty. Whether a parent is considered a custodial or non-custodial parent is irrelevant in determining child support responsibilities.

Q: How Much Can Child Support Take From Your Check in North Carolina?

A: While the North Carolina legal system hopes that parents can resolve child support disputes amicably, this is not always the case. If wage garnishment is necessary, up to 40% of the net available pay a person makes could be taken from their paycheck. To do so, there must be a court proceeding that determines it is necessary.

North Carolina Family Law Attorney

The laws surrounding child support can be confusing, particularly when they are constantly changing. For some parents, the laws could change two or three times during a child custody agreement. It is important to keep apprised of the most recent changes and how they could impact you. This can help to ensure yours, the other parent’s, and your child’s needs are all being met appropriately. If you have questions about child custody laws, potential changes, or how the recent changes have impacted your agreement, contact the family law team at Parsons Law, PA. Our knowledge and experience can help answer your questions.