Ask A Lawyer: I Bought My Daughter Clothes. Isn’t That Support?

Question: I am being sued by my daughter’s mother for $2300 for clothing and items that I purchased for my daughter while she was in my physical custody in 2011. I bought everything that they listed except for a few things. Can I win this case? She took my daughter at the end of 2011 without bringing her back.

Answer: This sounds like an issue that needs to be discussed more thoroughly with an  attorney, as there is probably more to the story than fits in a quick question. She cannot sue you for clothes you purchased, as she has no grounds. She may be suing for some form of child support. If that is the case, the fact that you spent $2300 on your daughter just before she left does not mean that you can credit that as support. On the other hand, it sounds like she is claiming that you need to reimburse her for money she spent on the clothes, but again you should win that since you purchased them.

With all that said, if she is suing for child support she is entitled to some reasonable amount of child support even if she took your daughter without an agreement (you would need to file a child custody action to attempt to get custody back). She may not be entitled to back support, but she should get ongoing support in an amount under the North Carolina Guidelines.

You can access the Child Support Handbook for North Carolina here.

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