Smithfield Child Support Lawyer

When two separated individuals have children, the court might order the non-custodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent to ensure financial stability. However, child support is not automatically granted; you must obtain a court order to receive it.

If you need help obtaining or enforcing a child support order, contact Breeden Law Office. With an experienced Smithfield child support lawyer at our firm on your side, you can access the financial support you are entitled to or protect yourself from being taken advantage of.

Call our office at (919) 300-7290 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your confidential case assessment today.

North Carolina Child Support Laws

Child Support is designed to ensure both parents are providing financial compensation to support raising their shared children. These funds should cover education, maintenance, health care, and other reasonable expenses.

Under North Carolina law, both of a child’s biological or adoptive parents are required to support their children financially. Child support payments can cover the child’s medical expenses, health insurance costs, extracurricular activities, and other necessary or reasonable childcare costs.

How to Establish Child Support

If you are interested in obtaining a child support order, there are specific steps you must take. Several options may be available, depending on the particular circumstances of your case. These include:

  • Contacting the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSE) to file a child support petition
  • Entering a voluntary child support agreement to be formally implemented by a Smithfield family court judge
  • Setting up child support plans when crafting your separation agreement

What Factors Determine the Amount of Child Support?

To determine how much child support should be paid, you will work with your attorney. The North Carolina child support guidelines take several factors into account, such as:

  • Both parent’s income and expenses
  • Whether the parents have other children from a former or new relationship
  • Both parent’s mental state and physical capabilities
  • Both parent’s finances, including pensions, investments, and inheritances
  • How much health insurance and medical expenses cost
  • Costs of childcare, sports, extracurricular activities, clothing, and other reasonable living expenses

How to Modify Child Support

Modifying your child support is possible if necessary. However, for a modification request to be approved, you must prove to the court that there have been significant changes in one or both parents’ finances. Some of the top reasons child support modification requests are approved include the following:

  • Changes in the non-custodial parent’s mental or physical health that effects their income
  • Job loss or promotion

Education changes if the cost of the education has increased or decreased significantly. For a modification request to be granted without showing a substantial change in circumstances  a minimum of three years must have passed since your existing child support order was implemented. A substantial change in circumstances is deemed to have occurred when the amount owed would be 15% more or less than the current order.

How is Child Support Enforced?

Simply obtaining a child support order is often not enough to make the non-custodial parent pay. In fact, there are several ways the North Carolina family courts can enforce an existing child support order. Some options include:

  • Wage garnishment and income withholding through the NC Child Support Centralized Collections (NCCSCC)
  • Reporting late payments to credit bureaus
  • Billing non-custodial parents
  • Taking out a personal property or real estate claim against property owned by the child-support-paying parent
  • Intercepting the non-custodial parent’s state and federal tax refunds
  • Pursuing court action against the parent refusing to uphold their child support obligations

Smithfield Child Support FAQs

How Long Does Child Support Last?

Child support lasts until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school whichever occurs last.

What Can I Do if I Lose My Job and Can’t Pay Child Support?

If you lose your job and cannot make child support payments, you must take action to protect yourself. You can apply for unemployment with the state and use these funds to cover your child support obligations, even if you can only make a partial payment. You can also work out a payment arrangement with your child’s other parent or consider reviewing your expenses to see what can be cut out to cover your child support payments.

How Can I Locate a Parent Who is Avoiding Child Support Payments?

Locating a parent refusing to cover their child support obligations can be a complex process. However, if you hope to find them, you must have as much personal information about them as possible. This might include:

  • Their first and last name
  • Their date of birth
  • Former addresses
  • Their last known location
  • The last phone number you have for them
  • Aliases they may go by
  • Their Social Security number
  • A copy of your child support order
  • Addresses of current or former workplaces

There are multiple ways you can go about finding your child’s other parents’ location. Some people resort to putting the names and photos of these parents on websites or billboards. Others will need to hire private investigators to conduct an in-depth investigation and determine the parent’s location. Fortunately, these costs can be recouped if you take action against the parent once their location has been identified.

It is not unusual for parents who avoid child support to remain undetected until law enforcement officials eventually discover them and determine they have an outstanding warrant.

Get Help From a Smithfield Child Support Lawyer Today

Trying to navigate the child support order process on your own can be confusing and burdensome. You may need to protect yourself from being taken advantage of or stand up and fight for the financial support your child deserves.

Our experienced Smithfield child support attorneys at Breeden Law Office can help you modify your child support order or secure one so you can get your child’s costs covered. Contact our team for an initial consultation today to determine what is next for your case. You can reach us through our quick contact form or by phone at (919) 300-7290 to start today.

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Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden