Thomas v. Burgett (North Carolina 2019)

No. COA18-783 (N.C. Ct. App. 2019)
May 2019

Rent payments are income for child support, but the parent may deduct insurance and property tax attributable to the rental property. The court must complete a four-step analysis before deviating from the guidelines. The parents filed for divorce. They had one child. At the time of divorce, the father was retired and received social security. The child also received social security payments through the father. He also received rent, which the district included as income. The court did not adjust the rental income for the cost of insurance or property tax. The court also deviated from the guidelines, choosing not to credit the father for the child’s social security payments. The father appealed. The appellate court reversed and remanded the order. It agreed with the father that insurance and property tax should have been accounted for in the rental income. The appellate court also found that the trial court did not follow the four-step analysis for the deviation. On remand, the court must make more specific findings.