When parents are divorced or no longer together, child support is a way for the non-custodial parent to contribute to the reasonable needs of the child. It may seem relatively straightforward, and in many cases it is. However, child support can become a complex issue because so many factors are used to determine the arrangements.
Establishing legal parenthood is simple for married couples. According to North Carolina law, when a married couple has a baby, both parents are considered the legal parents by default. For unmarried parents, establishing paternity can take a little more effort. Continue reading →
Marecic v. Baker, 2023-NCCOA-______ (2023) (unpublished).
- Facts: The case involved a dispute between the Plaintiff and Defendant, who are the biological parents of a minor child named R.J.M. The parties never married but purchased real estate in North Carolina and Florida during their relationship. Defendant had two older children from a previous marriage. Initially, they lived together with the children in North Carolina. Their relationship ended in January 2017, and Defendant and her two children moved to an apartment while Plaintiff stayed in their property. Despite the separation, they shared custody of R.J.M., with Plaintiff covering most of Defendant’s living expenses and expenses related to all the children. Actions commenced in December 2018 when Plaintiff filed for child custody, child support, attorney’s fees, and alternative dispute resolution. Defendant responded with a complaint for various matters, and the cases were consolidated. Temporary child custody orders were issued in March and July 2019, followed by a permanent child custody order in May 2021, granting shared custody on a rotating schedule. In May 2022, the trial court issued a child support order, and in June 2022, Defendant’s attorney filed for attorney’s fees. In August 2022, the trial court ordered Plaintiff to pay for some of defendant’s legal expenses. Plaintiff appealed.
Jackson v. Jackson, 2021-NCCOA-614 (2021)
- Facts: Mother and Father had an unincorporated child support agreement for their three children. Custody was shared between the parties. Later, one child aged out. Mother then relocated, and one child moved with her. The other remaining minor child moved in with Father. For this period, Father sought temporary child support and termination of his previous child support obligation because of the change in custody situation. Mother then filed a breach of contract for Father’s lowering and subsequent cessation of child support payments. At trial the court considered Father’s bonuses and commissions as part of his income. His base salary was $58,000, but he testified that he expected to get commissions even though he had not yet received any. The court found that father’s income was $71,000 annually.
Warren DSS v. Gerrelts, No.COA20-868 (June 2021).
This is an oddity of a case. Civil procedure has an interesting quirk called choice of law. It is an intensely fact-driven area of law that is still being actively researched and written about. Just the mere mention of the Erie Doctrine is probably enough to evoke trauma induced flashbacks to law school for many practicing attorneys. Put simply, since the state courts are courts of general jurisdiction, a state court sometimes has to apply another state’s law. Below is an interesting case about artificial insemination, paternity, and child support arising from a case where there are multiple states involved. Continue reading →