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Extraordinary Expenses in Child Support

In most cases here in North Carolina, child support has been reduced to an equation based upon guidelines that have been approved by the state. It is much like filing taxes—there are inputs for each parent’s income, the number of children, and the custodial schedule. Schedules are then used to determine the obligation for support. There may be certain line items that add or subtract from one parent’s obligation. In some circumstances, the court (or a parent) may see fit to depart from the guidelines, in which case a separate set of standards is used to calculate support; this is called deviation. In these cases, the actual expenses for the children are factors in determining the support obligation. Actual expenses are not typically part of the formula in guideline cases. However, there exists one category in the guidelines that does account for expenses. It is called extraordinary expenses.

In North Carolina, extraordinary expenses for child support are additional expenses that may not be covered by the basic child support obligation but are necessary for the child’s special needs or education. These expenses are usually split between the parents, in proportion to their respective incomes.

Examples of extraordinary expenses for child support in North Carolina may include:

· Childcare expenses for a child with special needs or when the custodial parent is working or attending school.

· Certain medical expenses such as therapy, counseling, or medications for a child’s special needs.

· Educational expenses, such as private school tuition or fees for extracurricular activities that are deemed necessary for the child’s development.

· Travel expenses for visitation or custody exchanges if the parents live far apart.

· Other expenses that are deemed necessary for the child’s well-being and development, such as tutoring, summer camp, or specialized equipment.

It is important to note that what constitutes an extraordinary expense may vary based on the circumstances of each case. There is no one-size-fits all approach. What the court deems an extraordinary expense for one child in one case may not apply to another child in another case. It is always recommended to consult with a family law specialist for expert guidance if you believe your child would incur extraordinary expenses.