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Alimony, Child Support Calculation, Expenses, and Life Insurance - Policy Perspectives
Episode 1621st December 2021 • Law Talk With Bill Powers | From Legal Issues and Legislation to Practice Tips, Professionalism, and Policy Discussions • Bill Powers
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Legal Issues Discussed:

  1. Findings of Fact - Standards of Review On Appeal
  2. Child Support - Ordinary Child Support, Extraordinary Child Support
  3. Court Ordered Life Insurance - Alimony
  4. Award of Attorney's Fees - Equitable Distribution

Findings of Fact - Family Law Legal Issues


  • “It is well established that child support orders entered by a trial court are accorded substantial deference by appellate courts[.]” Sergeef v. Sergeef, 250 N.C.App. 404, 406, 792 S.E.2d 192, 193 (2016)
  • This deference “is based upon the trial courts’ opportunity to see the parties; to hear the witnesses; and to detect tenors, tones, and flavors that are lost in the bare printed record read months later by appellate judges[.]” Shipman v. Shipman, 357 N.C. 471, 474, 586 S.E.2d 250, 253 (2003)
  • Review is limited to “whether there is sufficient competent evidence to support the findings of fact, and whether, based on these findings, the Court properly computed the child support obligations.” Miller v. Miller, 153 N.C. App. 40, 47, 568 S.E.2d 914, 918-19 (2002) (citation omitted)


  • “Accordingly, should we conclude that there is substantial evidence in the record to support the trial court’s findings of fact, such findings are conclusive on appeal, even if record evidence might sustain findings to the contrary.” Shipman, 357 N.C. at 475, 586 S.E.2d at 253-54

Child Support - Extraordinary Expenses

Regarding “extraordinary expenses,” the Child Support Guidelines provide that, "[o]ther extraordinary child-related expenses (including:

(1) expenses related to special or private elementary or secondary schools to meet a child’s particular education needs, and

(2) expenses for transporting the child between the parent’s homes) may be added to the basic child support obligation and ordered paid by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes if the court determines the expenses are reasonable, necessary, and in the child’s best interest. N.C. Child Support Guidelines (2019)

Mandatory Life Insurance Policy - Not Consistent with NC Law


Section 50-16.7(b) does not create an exception from the rule that an alimony obligation terminates upon the death of either the supporting or dependent spouse. We therefore vacate the portion of the trial court’s order requiring Defendant to maintain life insurance with a death benefit. . ."

Caselaw Summary

Defendant appeals from the trial court’s order on equitable distribution, alimony, and child support as Ordered in Johnson County, North Carolina:


No. COA21-68 / Johnston County, No. 17-CVD-3894 Wadsworth v. Wadsworth

In a Published Opinion, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirms in part, vacates in part, and remands the case to the Trial Court (the District Court Judge) for entry of an award of attorney's fees not to include fees associated with equitable distribution.

Child Support in North Carolina

**The attorneys herein providing a case law summary have no affiliation with the parties and/or involvement in the matter. The contents herein are provided as an educational resource and are intended to provide general information to legal professionals, law students, and those interested NC family law policies and protocols.