Israel v. Israel (North Carolina 2020)

No. COA19-1032
July 2020

Food stamps, or electronic food and nutrition benefits, are not income for child support purposes. The parents in this case divorced, and the father was ordered to pay support for their six children. The parents filed competing motions for contempt and to modify child support. The court modified support. The father appealed. He argued the trial court didn’t calculate the mother’s income correctly and wrongfully imputed income to him. The court of appeals upheld the order. The father argued that the trial court improperly excluded food stamp benefits from the mother’s income. North Carolina statute clearly excludes food stamps from a parent’s income. The father also argued the trial court didn’t find bad faith that would warrant imputing income to him. The appellate court disagreed. It found the trial court in the best position to judge the evidence. It declined to disturb the trial court’s decision that the father’s evidence of his inability to earn an income was not credible.