| 26th Judicial District
Child Support and Enforcement
5800 Executive Drive, 200
Charlotte, NC 28212-8869
Hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Civil Courts Office
832 E. 4th Street, Room 3725
Charlotte, NC 28202
FAQ: What is Child Support
Child Support Enforcement is a nationwide program
established by Congress in 1975 to ensure that both parents support their
children to the extent of their ability. In North Carolina the program
is administered by the Department of Human Resources, Division of Social
Services. A local child support enforcement agency serves each county
in the state.
Who is eligible for services?
Services are provided to any North Carolina parent
or custodian regardless of income level. Individuals receiving Aid
to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) are automatically referred to
the local child support enforcement office and must cooperate as a condition
of their eligibility. Persons not receiving public assistance may
apply for and receive child support services upon the payment of an application
What services are provided?
Child Support services are categorized into five major
Location of absent parents
Establishment of paternity for illegitimate children
Establishment of legal child support obligations
Collection of child support payments
Enforcement of child support obligations
What can be done to locate an absent parent?
Location services are provided to a client when
the absent parentís location is unknown. Using the information provided
by the caretaker of the child, the local child support agency can access
available local resources. The local agency can also utilize the
State Parent Locator Service as well as the Federal Parent Locator Service
in its efforts to locate an absent parent.
Why is establishing paternity important?
Paternity establishes a childís legal right to
Social Security, veterans benefits, inheritances, and other benefits to
which the father is entitled. In addition, in order to receive child
support, paternity must first be established.
How is paternity established?
The program establishes paternity for children
born out-of-wedlock. This can be done legally by a voluntary acknowledgment
of paternity or by a criminal or civil court proceeding. Genetic
tests can be performed by drawing blood from the alleged father, mother
and child in order to help correctly identify the father of the child.
Why does the caseworker ask such personal questions
when pursuing child support orders?
The local child support enforcement office must
have all the pertinent facts in order to pursue a case successfully.
Much of this information is highly personal, especially when attempting
to establish paternity. This information is needed in order to build
a strong case should it be necessary to go to court. Client information
is kept confidential.
How is the support order obtained?
A support obligation is established based on the
needs of the child and the absent parentís ability to pay. Mandatory
guidelines are used in North Carolina in order to compute child support
obligations based on the combined gross income of the custodial and noncustodial
parent. The absent parent may either voluntarily agree to an amount
of support, or the obligation can be established by petitioning the court.
Where are the payments made?
Support is paid through the local clerk of courtís
office in the county that established the order. Support monies collected
on behalf of clients of the Child Support Enforcement Program must then
be sent to the Department of Human Resources for distribution. Although
a client receiving public assistance must assign the right to receive support
directly to the State of North Carolina, the recipient is entitled to receive
up to the first $50 of the support collected each month without a decrease
in the AFDC payment.
What if payments are not made?
All new or modified child support orders must contain
a provision for income withholding to take effect immediately. If
this is not possible, the local child support enforcement office is responsible
for following up action to ensure that the order is enforced including
court proceedings and the interception of the absent parentís state and/or
federal income tax refunds.
What is expected of clients by the Child Support
In order to provide the best service possible,
it is essential that clients understand how important their role is in
obtaining child support. Such responsibilities include:
Appearing at all requested interviews, blood testing
appointments and court appearances;
Not taking duplicate action to obtain support, such
as swearing out a criminal warrant or hiring a private attorney, without
the knowledge of the child support office;
Providing accurate and complete information concerning
the absent parent to the child support office;
Notifying the child support office immediately of any
change in their own status, such as name, address or custody changes;
Cooperating with the child support office in seeking
support if the client is a recipient of public assistance, unless it is
not in the childís best interest.
What are the limitations of the Child Support
The Child Support Enforcement Program contracts
with attorneys to represent their support cases in civil court, but these
attorneys do not represent the individual clients of the agency.
A private attorney should be hired by the client if advice or representation
concerning custody, visitation, property settlement or divorce is needed.
Where can I obtain detailed information about
For more information and applications for services
that can be obtained by contacting the local child support enforcement
office, county department of social services or by calling CARE-LINE at
1-800-662-7030. In addition, a Child Support Enforcement manual,
which provides an explanation of policy and procedures, is maintained at
the local child support office.