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Do You Need to Enforce a Child Support Order?

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In North Carolina and across the nation, both mothers and fathers are responsible for providing support for their child. Both parents are expected to provide the necessary food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and education for their children regardless of the nature of their relationship or if they were ever married. Although the non-custodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent, that money is expected to aid in providing the necessary care for the child in more ways than one.

In North Carolina, child support is determined using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. In order to calculate child support, four numbers are needed to make the calculations and these include:

  1. The mother's gross monthly income
  2. The father's gross monthly income
  3. The children's portion of the monthly health insurance premium
  4. Any work-related childcare costs

Additionally, if either parent has any other children living at home, or if either parent pays child support, then these factors will be included in the calculation as well.

When Parents Don't Pay Child Support

It's important for both parties to understand that child support and visitation are two separate things, and that one cannot affect the other. This means that non-custodial parents cannot stop paying child support payments because the custodial parent is denying them visitation to their children. On the other hand custodial parents cannot deny visitation to the non-custodial parent because they aren't paying their child support payments. The law is designed to protect both custodial and non-custodial parents and it makes it so that neither parent can use child support or visitation as a means for manipulation or control.

What happens if a non-custodial parent doesn't pay their child support?

  • Be held in contempt of court
  • Be prosecuted for failure to pay child support
  • Arrested and sent to jail
  • Have their driver's license and other licenses suspended
  • Have their lottery winnings or tax refunds intercepted

Wage Garnishment and Other Methods

One of the most common actions to take is wage garnishment. This withheld income, or wage deduction, means that child support payments are directly taken out of the non-custodial parent's paycheck. With the help of a lawyer, you can obtain a writ of execution from the court, which will reach the paying parent's employer. The employer will be told to withdraw a portion from each paycheck so that you can receive this amount in child support. A larger percentage of wages will be garnished if your ex-spouse is behind on payments.

Other steps that can be taken include:

  • Federal income tax intercepts
  • License suspensions
  • License revocations
  • Passport restrictions
  • Charges of contempt of court

It is also possible to prosecute your ex-spouse who lives in a different state, as federal charges can be leveled. Whether you are a custodial parent that is owed back child support, or if you are the non-custodial parent that owes arrearages, it's critical that you speak with a Raleigh family law attorney to discuss your legal rights, as well as any legal remedies available at your disposal.

Modification Might Be an Option

Our economy has been hit hard in recent years and a number of people have been laid off, had their hours cut, or forced out of their home due to an underwater mortgage and a foreclosure. While some parents fail to pay child support out of spite or a lack of responsibility to properly care for their children, others are financially unable to meet with their child support demands. If you are a paying parent who has suffered from a job loss, or if you've been involved in an accident and are unable to pay your support payments, it's important to consider the possibility of petitioning for a child support modification.

In order to petition the courts for a modification to your current child support order, it must have been at least three years since your last child support order was entered, and there must be a difference of 15% or more between the amount of support payable in your existing order and the amount that you would be ordered to pay under the current guidelines.

Get the Legal Support You Need. Call (919) 876-3300!

Child support is an important legal matter, whether you are on the receiving end or the paying end. If you are having difficulty collecting child support from the non-custodial parent or if you are a paying parent that has run behind on your payments and are in need of legal assistance, please contact a Raleigh child support attorney from Hopper Law Office. We can advise you of your rights and responsibilities and paint a clear picture of what you can do and what it will take to resolve this matter efficiently and cost-effectively.

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