North Carolina Child Support


Child Support Process

Child Support Process

Table of Contents

In North Carolina, child support process is determined based on the income of both parents and the number of children. The state uses the Income Shares model to calculate support obligations.

Factors such as health insurance, child care costs, and other relevant expenses are also considered in child support . Read more of this blog article in order to understand the process of child support in North Carolina.

Child Support

Child support is a legal financial obligation that a noncustodial parent is typically required to pay to the custodial parent or guardian for the financial care and support of their child or children.

The purpose is to ensure that both parents contribute to the child’s well-being, covering expenses like housing, food, education, and medical care. Child support amounts are often determined by state guidelines and take into account factors such as the income of both parents and the number of children involved.

The Purpose of Child Support

The primary purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents financially contribute to the well-being and upbringing of their child or children, even if they are not living together. Child support aims to cover essential expenses such as housing, food, clothing, education, and healthcare.

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By enforcing child support, the legal system seeks to provide a stable and adequate financial foundation for the child’s growth and development. It helps to share the financial responsibility between parents, promoting the child’s best interests and maintaining a standard of living consistent with what the child would have experienced if the parents were together.

Below are the main purpose for child support:

1. Financial Support

– Ensure both parents contribute financially to the upbringing of the child.

– Cover essential expenses like housing, food, clothing, education, and healthcare.

2. Stability and Well-being

– Provide a stable financial foundation for the child’s growth and development.

– Maintain a standard of living consistent with what the child would have experienced if parents were together.

3. Promoting the Child’s Best Interests

– Prioritize the well-being and best interests of the child.

– Create a framework for shared responsibility, fostering a supportive environment for the child.

4. Fairness and Consistency

– Utilize state guidelines to determine support amounts, ensuring fairness.

– Establish consistent and predictable financial contributions from both parents.

5. Legal Enforcement

– Enforce legal obligations for financial support, encouraging parental accountability.

– Provide a legal framework to address disputes and ensure compliance with support arrangements.

Ways to set up child support

There are various ways to arrange for child support.

In a Separation Agreement, parents can decide how much child support to pay each other.

1. Voluntary Support Agreement (VSA)

Voluntary Support Agreement  (VSA) can be signed by parents. A VSA is a child support order that is first approved by the judge and then signed by both parties. The VSA becomes a court order and is enforceable by the court once a judge signs it.

2. Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSE)

Child Support Enforcement Agency is the organization that arranges for child support.
In district court, the party seeking child support may file a civil complaint.

Child support cases can be filed by whom?

Child support can be requested by any parent or caregiver for a youngster residing in their home.

Do I need to go to court to ask for child support for a child who lives with me before I can ask for custody of the child?

It is not necessary to acquire a court order granting you custody of a child you are raising if the child resides with you in order to request child support.

Child Support Requirements

Child support requirements vary by jurisdiction. Typically, they are determined based on factors like each parent’s income, the child’s needs, and custody arrangements. It’s advisable to check the specific laws in your area or consult with a family law attorney for accurate information tailored to your situation.

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Filing a case for child support in North Carolina

To file a case for child support in North Carolina, follow these general steps:

1. Gather Information

Collect information about both parents, including their incomes, employment details, and any existing child custody orders.

2. Complete the Application

Fill out the child support application, which is available online or at your local child support agency.

3. Submit Documentation

Provide necessary documents, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and custody arrangements, to support your case.

4. Visit the Local Child Support Office

Take the completed application and documents to your local child support office. You can find the nearest office through the North Carolina Child Support Services website.

5. Initiate Legal Proceedings if Needed

If the other parent is not cooperative, you may need to initiate legal proceedings. Consult with a family law attorney to understand the appropriate legal steps.

6. Attend Hearings

Be prepared to attend hearings as scheduled by the court. The judge will review the case and make a determination based on relevant factors.

7. Enforcement

If the other parent fails to comply with the child support order, you can seek enforcement through the North Carolina Child Support Services or legal channels.

Documents Needed

When filing for child support in North Carolina, you typically need the following documents:

1. Child Support Application

Complete the child support application form, available online or at the local child support office.

2. Proof of Income

Provide documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, or W-2 forms to demonstrate your income and the other parent’s income.

3. Custody Arrangement

If there’s an existing custody order, include a copy. If not, be prepared to discuss the proposed custody arrangement.

4. Birth Certificates

Include copies of the child’s birth certificates to establish parentage.

5. Expense Documentation

Outline the child’s needs and associated expenses. This could include medical bills, educational costs, and other relevant expenses.

6. Contact Information

Provide up-to-date contact information for both parents.

7. Legal Documentation (if applicable)

If you’re seeking legal action, consult with a family law attorney and gather any necessary legal documents.

Always check with the local child support office or seek legal advice to ensure you have all the required documents specific to your case in North Carolina.

Court Process

The court process for child support in North Carolina typically involves the following steps:

1. Filing a Complaint

Initiate the process by filing a complaint for child support with the appropriate court. You can obtain the necessary forms from the clerk’s office.

2. Service of Process

Ensure that the other parent is properly served with the legal documents, informing them of the child support case.

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3. Response

The other parent has an opportunity to respond to the complaint. If they agree to child support, the process may proceed more smoothly. If there’s disagreement, a court hearing may be scheduled.

4. Mediation (if required)

Some jurisdictions may require mediation to attempt to reach an agreement outside of court. If an agreement is not reached, the case proceeds to court.

5. Court Hearings

Attend court hearings where both parties present their cases. The judge considers evidence, such as income information, and determines the appropriate child support amount.

6. Child Support Order

If the judge decides in favor of child support, a child support order is issued. This document outlines the amount, payment schedule, and other relevant details.

7. Enforcement

If the other parent fails to comply with the child support order, enforcement measures may be taken, such as wage garnishment or legal action.

It’s crucial to consult with a family law attorney or the clerk’s office in the relevant jurisdiction to understand the specific court procedures and requirements for your case in North Carolina.


Child support enforcement in North Carolina involves various measures to ensure that the noncustodial parent meets their financial obligations. Some enforcement methods include:

1. Income Withholding

The court may order income withholding, where child support payments are deducted directly from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck.

2. Interception of Tax Refunds

Tax refunds may be intercepted to cover past-due child support.

3. Driver’s License Suspension

Nonpayment of child support may result in the suspension of the noncustodial parent’s driver’s license.

4. Contempt of Court

If the noncustodial parent consistently fails to pay child support, they may be held in contempt of court, leading to fines or imprisonment.

5. Liens and Seizures

Liens can be placed on property, and assets may be seized to satisfy child support arrears.

6. Passport Denial

Noncustodial parents with significant arrears may be denied the issuance or renewal of a passport.

7. Credit Reporting

Unpaid child support may be reported to credit bureaus, affecting the noncustodial parent’s credit score.

8. Civil and Criminal Penalties

Noncompliance can result in civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

It’s important to note that enforcement measures vary, and the specific actions taken depend on the circumstances of each case. If you encounter issues with child support enforcement, seeking legal advice or contacting the North Carolina Child Support Services for assistance is advisable.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support

1. How is child support calculated in North Carolina?

Child support is determined based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, considering factors like income, custody arrangements, and childcare costs.

2. How do I apply for child support in North Carolina?

A: Complete the child support application, available online or at the local child support office. Submit the application along with required documentation.

3. What documents do I need for a child support case?

Documents include the child support application, proof of income, custody arrangement details, birth certificates, and expense documentation.

4. Can child support be modified?

Yes, child support orders can be modified if there’s a significant change in circumstances, such as income or custody arrangements.

5. How is child support enforced in North Carolina?

Enforcement methods include income withholding, interception of tax refunds, driver’s license suspension, liens, passport denial, and credit reporting.

6. What if the other parent doesn’t pay child support?

Contact the North Carolina Child Support Services for assistance. Enforcement measures may include legal actions and penalties.

7. Can I get child support if we were never married?

Yes, child support is not exclusive to married couples. Unmarried parents can pursue child support through legal channels.

8. How long does child support last in North Carolina?

Child support typically continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. It may continue for longer in certain situations.

9. Can child support be paid directly between parents?

While direct payments are possible, it’s advisable to establish a formal child support order through the court for legal protection.

10. Can I represent myself in a child support case?

Yes, you can represent yourself, but seeking legal advice or assistance from the North Carolina Child Support Services is recommended for better understanding of the process.

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