Child Support Enforcement in North Carolina

By Jim Warren

In North Carolina, child support is calculated in many cases pursuant to the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.  If the combined adjusted gross income of both parties is less than $25,000.00 per month, the court, with few exceptions, is required by law to use the guidelines in calculating child support. 

Factors used in determining the amount of child support include, but are not necessarily limited to, the combined adjusted gross income of the parties, work related child care and who pays it, and health insurance premium costs attributable to the minor child(ren) and who pays it.  In some cases, the court considers extraordinary expenses in the calculation of child support. For example, when the court considers where the parents have agreed and the children have been attending private school, private school tuition and expenses can also be included in the calculation of child support. 

Occasionally, the court considers extraordinary expenses such as the expenses incurred because of a child with special needs.  Child support in our state is payable until the child attains the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever event occurs last, but in no event beyond the child’s 20th birthday.

Individuals seeking child support can pay a small fee and can thereafter use an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services called North Carolina Child Support Enforcement (CSE).  North Carolina Child Support Enforcement can assist a parent in the establishment of child support and in the enforcement of a child support order.  The primary enforcement remedy used concerning child support is the contempt powers of the court.  A person who is ordered to pay child support who is found by the court to have had the ability to make the payments when he did not can be found in contempt. 

The court can include fines and even incarceration.  Payments not made by an obligor do not go away.  The court can only reduce child support back to the filing of a motion for a reduction by the obligor.  Other enforcement remedies include seizure of the bank accounts, intercepting tax refunds, intercepting unemployment payments, intercepting disability payments, property liens, and even suspension of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the state.

If you have never pursued child support or if you are not receiving child support due you under an agreement or order, you should protect your rights and those of your children by seeking help.  We are here to assist you in both the establishment of a child support order and the enforcement of agreements and orders for child support.  Give us a call and begin your journey to a more stable financial future.