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An Essential Clause for Your Child Support Order

Child support plays a crucial role in ensuring that children receive the financial support they need from both parents, regardless of whether the parents are living together. This blog post will explain the purpose of child support, how it is calculated in North Carolina and South Carolina, and why it is important to include a specific clause in your child support order to help you stay informed about potential modifications.

Adult holding hand of small child

The Purpose of Child Support

The primary purpose of child support is to ensure that children maintain a standard of living that is as close as possible to what they would have experienced if their parents were still together. Child support covers essential expenses such as:

  • Housing

  • Food

  • Clothing

  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • Extracurricular activities

Child support is designed to provide for the child's overall well-being and ensure that both parents contribute to the child's upbringing financially.

How Child Support is Calculated in North Carolina and South Carolina

North Carolina:

In North Carolina, child support is calculated using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which consider several factors, including:

  • Each parent’s gross income

  • The number of children involved

  • The custody arrangement (i.e., how much time the child spends with each parent)

  • Health insurance costs

  • Work-related childcare expenses

  • Other extraordinary expenses


The state uses a formula that takes these factors into account to determine the appropriate amount of child support. You can use the North Carolina Child Support Calculator to get an estimate of your potential child support obligation.

South Carolina:

Similarly, South Carolina uses the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which consider:

  • Each parent’s gross income

  • The number of children involved

  • Custody arrangements

  • Health insurance costs

  • Work-related childcare expenses

  • Other extraordinary expenses


The South Carolina Child Support Calculator provides an estimate of the child support obligation based on these factors.

Why It’s Important to Include This Essential Clause in Your Child Support Order

One crucial clause that many parents overlook is the requirement for both parties to exchange tax return information annually. Including this clause can be vital for several reasons:

Monitoring Changes in Income:

  • Parents’ financial situations can change over time. Regularly exchanging tax returns allows both parties to monitor changes in income, which could affect the child support amount.

Determining Eligibility for Modification:

  • If there is a significant change in either parent’s income, it may warrant a modification of the child support order. Having access to up-to-date financial information helps determine if you are entitled to request a modification.

Ensuring Fair Support:

  • Regularly updating financial information ensures that the child support amount remains fair and reflects the current financial circumstances of both parents.

How to Include the Clause

When working with your attorney to draft or modify your child support order, request that the court include a clause requiring both parents to exchange their tax returns and supporting documents annually after they are filed. This should be a straightforward addition that your attorney can help you with.

Sample Clause: “The parties are required to exchange copies of their federal and state tax returns, including all supporting documents, by April 30th of each year. This exchange is to determine if either party is eligible for a modification of the child support order.”

Child support is essential for ensuring that children receive the financial support they need from both parents. By understanding how child support is calculated in North Carolina and South Carolina, and by including a clause requiring the exchange of tax return information, you can help ensure that your child support order remains fair and up-to-date.

For personalized legal assistance and to ensure that your child support order includes all necessary clauses, contact Brown & Associates, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the complexities of family law.

Contact Us:

Brown & Associates, PLLC Attorneys & Counselors at Law Park South Professional Center 10440 Park Road, Suite 200 Charlotte, NC 28210

Tel: 704-542-2525 Fax: 704-541-4751

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