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Child Support Insights on Bishop v. Bishop

Divorce is rarely simple, and when children are involved the complexities can intensify. Child support is one of the most critical aspects that parents need to consider during the separation process. A recent North Carolina case, Bishop v. Bishop, sheds light on some crucial issues that can arise in child support matters, especially for high net-worth parents.

Understanding Child Support Modification

In the Bishop v. Bishop case, the mother filed a motion to modify child support from an initial order made in 2012. By 2018, Judge Worley entered an order that not only increased the father’s child support but also altered the parties’ respective percentages of responsibility for unreimbursed medical expenses.

It is noteworthy here that child support modification isn’t rare, but it must be substantiated. The court held that the father had experienced a “significant increase in income” since the initial order, thus validating the modification.

Key Factors for Modification

When looking at the trial court’s decision, particular attention was paid to the disparity in the parties’ estates, among other factors delineated in N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.4(c). This demonstrates that child support modification doesn’t hinge solely on one parent’s income but takes into account multiple elements, including both parents’ financial capabilities.

The Controversy: Exceeding the Child’s Reasonable Needs

One of the most interesting points of the case comes in the form of a dissenting opinion by Judge Berger. He dissented because the new child support order exceeded 100% of the minor child’s reasonable needs. This opens up an important conversation on the ethical and financial boundaries of child support obligations.

What Constitutes ‘Reasonable Needs?

Determining a child’s “reasonable needs” can be a murky area, particularly for high net-worth couples where lifestyle, education, and extracurricular activities may far exceed the average. Judge Berger’s dissent calls into question whether a cap should be placed on child support obligations based on these reasonable needs.

Implications for High Net Worth Couples

For affluent couples considering divorce, the Bishop v. Bishop case offers several takeaways. First, child support modifications can happen years after the initial order, especially if there’s a significant change in either party’s financial circumstances. Second, the calculation for child support might not be a straightforward percentage but could involve various factors, including estate values.

Legal Expertise Matters

Navigating child support matters requires acute legal expertise, particularly when substantial assets are involved. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced Greensboro divorce lawyer who specializes in high net-worth cases to ensure your interests, and those of your children, are adequately represented.


Child support is a nuanced area of law that becomes even more intricate for high net-worth couples. The Bishop v. Bishop case exemplifies why it’s crucial to have competent legal representation to navigate the complexities of child support, especially when modifications are on the table. If you have questions about how child support laws may affect you in a divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Woodruff Family Law Group to schedule a consultation.