Child support under the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines is based on a number of variables.   I frequently get questions about the difference between Worksheet A and Worksheet B.   The application of these worksheets can result in severe changes to the recommended child support order.

Going into a child support case, it is important for you to understand what will cause the calculation to change based on the number of overnights and the sharing of expenses.

Q:  What is Worksheet A?

A:  Worksheet A under the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines is used when the parent has primary physical custody of all of the children for whom support is being calculated. A parent has “primary physical custody” under the child support guidelines if the child lives with that parent for at least 243 nights during the year.

Q: What is Worksheet B?

A:  Worksheet B is used when (a) the parents share custody of all of the children for whom support is being determined, or (b) when one parent has primary physical custody of one or more of the children and the parents share custody of another child.  Parents share custody under WorkSheet B of the guidelines if the child lives with each parent for at least 123 nights a year and each parent assumes financial responsibility for the child’s expenses during the time the child lives with that parent.

An explanation of the Worksheet A vs. Worksheet B explains why in North Carolina both parents have a responsibility to financially support their children.   In almost every case, the child support guidelines will have one parent pay something to the other even if custody is shared equally because most of the time the incomes of the parents are different and they have different expenses.


Family law attorney Scott Allen handles child support cases and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at