Child Support


Child Support in North Carolina is primarily resolved through the application of the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines use an income share approach, and use the parents' gross incomes, along with certain child-related expenses, such as daycare and health insurance, to arrive at the proper amount of child support. The idea behind the Guidelines is to promote consistency and predictability in child support awards, and to a large degree, this has been accomplished.

However, many cases are not so clear cut. Oftentimes, the income of one or both parties is not easily determined, as in the case of self-employed individuals. Other times, an unusual custodial arrangement or extraordinary expenses might need to be considered to achieve a fair result. Mr. Cecil has litigated almost every issue imaginable in the context of child support, and both address these issues almost daily. He represents clients with child support issues in regular Civil District Court, and also in Child Support Court, where the docket is controlled by the various Child Support Enforcement Agencies.

Mr. Cecil has also handled two significant appellate cases involving child support, both of which were heard first in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and then in the North Carolina Supreme Court. The first of these, Guilford County v. Easter, was a case of first impression in the State, and is still the seminal case on the effect of third party contributions in the context of child support. In that case, Mr. Cecil persuaded the North Carolina Supreme Court to reverse the North Carolina Court of Appeals' decision that third party contributions should never be considered in a child support calculation. The Guilford County v. Easter opinion may be viewed here, and constitutes important precedent in the area of child support.  In the second case, Pataky v. Pataky, Mr. Cecil argued to the North Carolina Supreme Court regarding the effect of a Separation Agreement on the application of the Child Support Guidelines.


Modification of Child Support


An award of child support may be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances, and such motions are among the most frequently litigated issues in the family law area. The law regarding the types of changed circumstances which will warrant a modification is complex and constantly changing, with the result that attorneys are required to exercise diligence to stay abreast of new legal developments. The importance of a fair award of child support cannot be overstated, and our attorneys have the dedication and research skills necessary to provide quality representation in this frequently occurring, but important scenario of child support modification.