NC Child Support

When discussing child support in North Carolina, there are a few important points to keep in mind such as the amount of child support, child custody, paternity and child support changes.

A child’s father and mother are primarily responsible for care and support of the child.  If either one or both of the parents do not live with the child, they are considered an absentee parent.  The absentee parent can be ordered by the court to financially support the child or children.

North Carolina’s Division of Social Services (DSS) enforces child support.  Its mission is stated as, “[t]o consistently collect as much child support money as possible for the benefit of North Carolina’s children.” 

Child Support Amount
Child support is calculated using the NC Child Support Guidelines or the parents can negotiate their own amount between each other.  The NC Child Support Guidelines base the amount ordered on the needs of the children and the absentee parent’s ability to pay.

The absentee parent must provide health insurance for their child if the parent’s employer offers it as a benefit.  A financial credit will be given for providing the health insurance.

Child support can be collected from a parent in prison if the parent owns property or earns money from a work release program.

For the NC Child Support Guidelines, see:

Child custody
Child support has nothing to do with child custody, and DSS cannot assist with custody issues.  Two separate orders will be given by the court, one for child support and one for child custody

For children born during a marriage, the husband is assumed to be the father.  For children born out of wedlock and when the father is the absentee parent, a paternity test can be conducted before ordering child support.  The other option is for the father to sign an Affidavit of Parentage that will become a legal finding of paternity and the father’s name will be put on the child’s birth certificate.  If there is any doubt about who is the father, either party can and should ask for a paternity test.

Child support changes and termination
Child support ends at the age of 18 unless the child is emancipated, the child is adopted, or the parent paying child support’s parental rights are terminated. 

A child support order will be reviewed every 3 years at the parties’ request.  If a substantial change in circumstances occurs for the child or either of the parents, a request for a review may be submitted at any time.

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