What Is the Process for Obtaining Child Support in NC?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

January 30, 2023

The parents or legal guardians of children are required to provide financial support for their children, regardless of their relationships. Whether you have recently been divorced or separated from your child’s other parent, obtaining child support from the child’s other legal guardian or parent can be a great way to ensure that your child’s needs are met.

However, obtaining child support can be complex due to North Carolina child support laws. It is important to explore which options are best suited for your case so you can begin accessing the financial help you need when you need it most.

Who Qualifies for Child Support?

North Carolina child support laws state that both of a child’s parents are required to provide financial support for their children unless their parental rights have ended. Generally, child support is paid to the parent with whom the child primarily resides.

In cases where both parents share equal time with their children, child support may not be necessary. However, the amount of child support that will be awarded can be based on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Income from Social Security benefits
  • Income from wages
  • Income from bonuses
  • Pensions
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • The expenses of both parents

Generally, the more time you spend with your child, the less child support will be necessary. However, if you only have visitation rights or your child’s other parent has sole custody of your child, you may be ordered to pay child support.

How Are Payments Arranged?

There are multiple ways child support payments can be arranged. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your options may include:

  • Signing a Voluntary Support Agreement VSA that is later signed by a judge, becoming an enforceable court order
  • Agreeing to set child support amounts in your separation agreement
  • Arranging child support through the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSE)
  • Pursuing a civil Child Support complaint in District Court

Generally, child support is paid monthly. However, child support can also be paid biweekly or weekly, depending on your specific child support payment arrangement details.

Parents can work together to agree on child support before it is sent to the court for an order. When parents cannot agree, the court can decide on their behalf.

Filing for Child Support

When you are ready to file for child support, there are specific steps you can take to get started. These steps include:

  • Filing a petition for child support with the court
  • Working with your child support lawyer to calculate your anticipated child support payments
  • Negotiating with your child’s other parent for a reasonable child support amount
  • Working out a child support settlement agreement
  • Bringing your child support case to Family Court before a judge

Ultimately, being able to come to an arrangement privately is in your child’s best interests. The judge and family court system do not know your family the way you do. If you can come to a child support agreement on your own, you may be able to avoid some of the difficulties of having the judge decide on your behalf.

What Evidence Do I Need for Child Support Cases?

As you prepare to have your child support case heard, it is crucial to come up with all the evidence you need to support your claim. When you are filing your application, you need specific types of documentation, including:

  • Copies of your tax returns, pay stubs, or proof of other sources of income
  • A list of your child’s needs
  • Copies of daycare receipts or medical bills
  • A copy of your rental agreement that shows your children primarily reside with you
  • A copy of your child custody order
  • Documentation of any payments you have already received
  • Proof of expenses

Why Would a Family Law Attorney Benefit Me?

Having a family law attorney on your side as you seek the child support payments you are entitled to could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Your attorney will be by your side to ensure that:

  • Your argument is organized
  • Your case is presented entirely before the court
  • You understand how North Carolina child custody laws work
  • You know the potential ramifications of failure to follow a child support order
  • You calculate the value of your possible child support payments
  • You understand the likelihood that your child support order will go into effect
  • You fight for a reasonable child support order if the amount suggests it is too low or too high

Call Breeden Law for Your NC Child Support Needs

Getting your child’s other parent to contribute financially can be more complicated than you expected. Fortunately, when you seek a North Carolina child support order, you can get the financial help you need and ensure your child’s other parent is ordered to uphold their own financial obligations.

Reach out to an experienced NC child support lawyer at Breeden Law Office to learn more about what to expect as you attempt to obtain a child support order in North Carolina family courts. Fill out our online contact form or call us (919) 661-4970 to get started on your petition today.


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