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How to Get Help & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This web page contains links to the following:

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 FAQs for General Public

General Information (General Public FAQs)

Q.   How do I apply for child support services?

A.   You can complete the application at your local CSS office or get an application online.

Q.   Is an application fee required?

A.   A non-refundable $25 application fee is required to apply for Non-Public Assistance services.  You could be eligible for a reduced fee of $10. Ask about this when you apply. For more information, contact your local CSS office.

Q.   What services are provided by CSS?

A.   The CSS program provides the following services: location of noncustodial parents, paternity establishment for children born outside of marriage, establishment of support obligations, collection and distribution of support, and enforcement of support obligations.  See CSS services

Q.   How long does it take to obtain a child support court order and receive child support payments once the application is completed and received by the CSS program?

A.   The length of time depends upon the unique circumstance of each case. Some cases are more complicated and require more time. Providing additional information when requested, helps CSS in obtaining a child support order in a timely manner. Factors contributing to the complexity of the case can include:

Q.   What is a Non-IV-D case?

A.   Non-IV-D cases are managed by the county Clerk of Superior Court.

Q.   What is the CSS Customer Service Center?

A.   The CSS Customer Service Center serves as the gateway for all questions from our customers.  Its toll-free phone number is 1-800-992-9457. This number puts you in contact with the Voice Response Unit, which is available seven (7) days per week.  Information is available in English or Spanish.  Have your MPI number available.  A menu describes your options.  Press the appropriate number to go directly to the information you want, or press “0” to speak to a customer service representative.  You also can contact CSS Customer Service representatives by regular mail or by completing the Feedback form.

Q.   What is New Hire Reporting?

A.   Employers doing business in North Carolina are required to report all newly hired employees to the NC New Hire Directory.  Prompt reporting enables CSS to locate noncustodial parents faster and increase child support collections.  Employer’s can report online at the New Hire web site.

Links to related FAQs:
General Info FAQs for Custodial Parents
General Info FAQs for Noncustodial Parents
General Info FAQs for Employers

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Location of NCPs (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What is location?

A.   Location is one of the core services provided by CSS.  Noncustodial parents (NCPs) must be located in order to establish paternity and support and to enforce existing court orders for support.  If CSS has a record of the NCP’s current address or place of employment, it considers that NCP to be located.

Q.   Is the CSS always successful in locating the noncustodial parent (NCP)?

A.   No.  However, as the CSS agency receives more information on an NCP, its ability to locate that NCP increases.

Links to related FAQS:
Location FAQs for Custodial Parents

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Paternity (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What does “establishing paternity” mean and why is it necessary?

A.   Establishing paternity is one of the core services provided by CSS.  It identifies the legal father of a child, which ensures certain rights for the child and access to the father’s medical information and benefits.  Also a child support order cannot be established for a child born out of wedlock unless the alleged father acknowledges paternity or is proven to be the father through genetic testing.

Q.   What is a genetic test?

A.   Genetic testing is a way of determining the probability that the alleged father is the child’s biological father.  The natural mother, alleged father, and the child have blood/tissue taken by a nurse or phlebotomist.  The procedure can take place in the CSS office or a testing laboratory.  Identification is required, and individuals being tested are photographed to verify the donors. Results from the lab can take four (4) to six (6) weeks.

Q.   What are some of the legal ways to establish paternity?

A.   Paternity can be established in the following ways:

Q.   If the father is unable to sign the Affidavit of Parentage in the hospital, can this document be completed at a later time?

A.   Yes. The Affidavit of Parentage can be signed at your local CSS office, or visit the N.C. Vital Records web site.

Q.   Will the father’s name be placed on the birth certificate?

A.   Yes. When the natural mother and biological father sign an Affidavit of Parentage, the affidavit is filed with N.C. Vital Records. The father’s signature on the affidavit gives permission for his name to be entered on the birth certificate for a child born in North Carolina.

Q.   What happens after paternity has been established?

A.   Once paternity is established, an order for financial and/or medical support can be obtained either voluntarily or by court order.

Links to related FAQs:
Paternity FAQs for Custodial Parents
Paternity FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Establishing Support (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What does “establishing support” mean?

A.   Establishing support is one of the core services provided by CSS.  To successfully establish a support order, CSS must locate the noncustodial parent (NCP), identify how much the NCP can pay, and determine the needs of the child(ren) in the case.  CSS must obtain a legal order that specifies the amount of financial support to be paid for the benefit of the child(ren).

Q.   What are some of the legal ways to establish a child support order?

A.   Child support orders can be established in the following ways:

Q.   How is the amount of child support determined?

A.   The amount of child support to be paid is based upon the NC Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are used to calculate child support orders based on the ability of parents to pay and the needs of the children. The amount of child support is calculated using the worksheets contained in the guidelines.

Links to related FAQs:
Establishment FAQs for Custodial Parents
Establishment FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Centralized Collections/NCCSCC (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What is the North Carolina Child Support Centralized Collections (NCCSCC) operation?

A.   The NCCSCC operation automatically processes all N.C. child support payments at a central location in accordance with the requirements of federal and state law.

Links to related FAQs:
Centralized Collections FAQs for Custodial Parents
Centralized Collections FAQs for Noncustodial Parents
Centralized Collections FAQs for Employers

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Distribution/ Disbursement (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What do “distribution” and “disbursement” mean?

A.   “Distribution” is the accounting process that determines how incoming payments are applied. The ACTS system applies these funds based to pre-defined rules of distribution.  For example, funds can be distributed to multiple child support cases and to multiple subaccounts for each case in order to satisfy current and past due support obligations.

Q.   What is proration?

A.   Federal and state laws require that payments from payors with more than one child support case be divided (or “prorated”) among all of their cases.  When NCCSCC processes a payment, the money is divided among ALL of the payor's child support cases.  The amount of the payment that is applied to each case is determined by the amount owed as current support and the amount of past due child support owed on each case.

Links to related FAQs:
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for Custodial Parents
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Enforcement (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What does “enforcement” mean?

A.   Once a child support obligation is determined and a court order established, CSS is responsible for enforcing the order.  Appropriate enforcement actions are mandatory when the noncustodial parent is not complying with the court order.

Q.   What can CSS do when a noncustodial parent (NCP) does not pay his/her child support?

A.   Some remedies that CSS can use to enforce a child support order are:

Q.   What is “income withholding”?

A.   Income (or wage) withholding is an efficient and reliable means of collecting periodic child support obligations.  When North Carolina (or any other state) sends a notice of wage withholding for an employee to the employer, federal and state laws require that employer to begin withholding child support from the employee’s wages.   Employers deduct the amount specified under the terms of the withholding notice from the employee’s paycheck and forward it to the state within seven (7) business days.  Income can also be withheld when the NCP has other sources of income, such as Unemployment Insurance Benefits, and Worker's Compensation.

Q.   What kinds of income can be withheld?

A.   North Carolina income withholding law permits the withholding of most kinds of income. Examples include:

Q.   What sources of income are exempt from income withholding?

A.   The following sources of income are exempt:

Q.   Is it possible to collect child support from sources other than wages?

A.   Yes.  It is possible to collect past due child support from other types of assets such as tax refunds, insurance settlements, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation benefits, property, and bank accounts. Custodial parents should inform their caseworker of any assets that the noncustodial parent has.

Q.   Can a noncustodial parent (NCP) be arrested for failure to pay child support?

A.   NCPs cannot be arrested solely because child support payments are not paid.  The NCP must be served with a Motion and Order to Show Cause, which allows the case to be heard before a judge.  Both parents in the case can be given the opportunity to address the court about the case.  After all the testimony and evidence are presented, the judge determines whether or not the NCP is in contempt of the order, and if so, what penalty to apply.

Q.   Can a noncustodial parent (NCP) be forced to get a job?

A.   Child support caseworkers can offer suggestions on where to seek employment, but they do not have the authority to require someone to go to work. A judge can require the noncustodial parent to seek employment and return to court at a later date.

Q.   What can be done when the noncustodial parent’s payments are due on the first of the month, but they are always late?

A.   The current month’s payment is not considered delinquent until thirty (30) days have passed and the amount that is owed equals or exceeds one month’s obligation. Once the payments are past due thirty (30) days, enforcement actions can be taken.

Q.   How can CSS collect child support if the noncustodial parent (NCP) is paid in cash?

A.   Income withholding might not be effective if the NCP is paid in cash.  Delinquency notices are mailed to the NCP.  If payments are not made, enforcement remedies can be taken.

Links to related FAQs:
Enforcement FAQs for Custodial Parents

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Tax Intercept (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What is “tax intercept”?

A.   CSS can intercept the federal and/or state tax refund of an obligor/noncustodial parent (NCP) who owes past due child support.  For federal tax intercept, the NCP must owe at least $500 in past due child support for his/her Non-Public Assistance cases or at least $150 for Public Assistance cases.  For state tax intercept, the NCP must owe at least $50 for his/her Non-Public Assistance cases.
Intercepted tax refunds are used to pay child support debt that is owed to the state first and then to pay the custodial parent.  Custodial parents cannot receive tax intercept payments unless the NCP has filed taxes and is eligible for a tax refund.  NCPs might not be eligible for a tax refund if they owe past due taxes or did not pay enough taxes during their employment to qualify for a refund.  Any funds that remain after the NCP’s child support debt is paid off are returned to the NCP.

Q. If the noncustodial parent applies for a “rapid refund”, can his/her taxes be intercepted for child support?

A.   Yes.  A “rapid refund” is a loan that uses the tax refund as collateral.  Funds are still intercepted from the noncustodial parent’s tax refund to pay child support, even if the lender is not aware that the NCP has been certified for tax intercept.

Q.   Why are intercepted federal tax refunds held for six (6) months?

A.   When the obligor/ noncustodial parent (NCP) files a joint tax return, some of that tax refund could be owed to his/her spouse.  CSS puts a hold on funds from an intercepted federal tax refund for six (6) months to allow the spouse to file a claim for his/her share of the refund.  If the NCP and spouse sign a notarized statement with both of their Social Security numbers that waives the spouse’s right to file a claim, CSS releases the held funds upon receipt of the affidavit.

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Interstate (General Public FAQs)

Q.   What is an “Interstate case”?

A.   Interstate cases are cases in which the involved parties reside in different states AND a request for assistance is forwarded to the other state's child support agency.

Q.   Who handles a child support case in another state?

A.   The CSS office in the noncustodial parent’s state of residence handles the establishment or enforcement of a child support order.

Links to related FAQs:
Interstate FAQs for Custodial Parents

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FAQs for Custodial Parents

General Information (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   Can the CSS office assist me with visitation and custody issues?

A.   No.  Federal regulations do not allow the CSS office to provide services for visitation or custody disputes. Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. For these issues, consult with a private attorney.

Q.   What kind of documents can I provide to help the CSS agency process my case?

A.   If possible, provide the following documents:

Q.   Do I have to provide CSS with information about the noncustodial parent to receive Work First Family Assistance?

A.   Work First applicants/recipients must cooperate with CSS by providing information about the NCP, unless the Work First agency determines that “good cause” exists for noncooperation (such as the potential for emotional/physical harm to the child or caretaker.)  If good cause is granted, the case is not referred to CSS.  Contact your Work First caseworker for information on how to make a claim of good cause.

Q.   What should I do if my address changes?

A.   Make sure that you keep CSS informed immediately of changes to your address.  If a child support check is returned to CSS due to an incorrect address, it is not reissued until a new address becomes available.  Call the CSS Customer Service Center at 1-800-992-9457 from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact the county CSS office that handles your case. 

Q.   What should I do if my name changes?

A.   Contact the county CSS office handling your case.

Links to related FAQs:
General Info FAQs for the General Public
General Info FAQs for Noncustodial Parents
General Info FAQs for Employers

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Location of NCPs (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   How can I help with location efforts?

A.   Providing CSS with as much information as possible is the key.  The individual’s complete name, Social Security number, and date of birth are vital to successful location, but other information as things you remember or documents that you possess can be very useful.

Q.   What kind of documents can I provide to help the CSS agency locate the noncustodial parent (NCP)?

A.   Employment, tax, financial institution, and insurance records are good examples of documents that can help CSS to locate the NCP.

Q.   What if I don’t know much about the noncustodial parent (NCP)?

A.   You could know more than you think.  Where did you meet? Did the NCP speak of the type of work that he/she did?  Do you have mutual friends who could have information? Think about the conversations that you had, and you may remember small things to help in locating the NCP.

Q.   The noncustodial parent (NCP) for my case moved out of state four years ago. How can the CSS agency locate him/her?

A.   The CSS agency can access information from both state and national computer databases to assist in location efforts. In addition, CSS agencies in other states can assist in location and pursuing support. (See Interstate FAQs.)

Links to related FAQS:
Location FAQs for the General Public

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Paternity (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   What if I am not sure who the father is?

A.   If you apply for services or are referred to the CSS office to establish paternity, you are asked questions about the men who could have fathered the child.  It is very important for you to provide as much information as you can to help determine the father’s identity. When more than one person could be the father of the child, each person could be required to take a genetic test.

Q.   What are some legal ways to establish paternity?

A.   Paternity can be established in the following ways:

Q.   If the father is unable to sign the Affidavit of Parentage in the hospital, can this document be completed at a later time?

A.   Yes. The Affidavit of Parentage can be signed at your local CSS office, or visit the N.C. Vital Records web site.

Q.   Will the father’s name be placed on the birth certificate?

A.   Yes. When the natural mother and biological father sign an Affidavit of Parentage, the affidavit is filed with N.C. Vital Records. The father’s signature on the affidavit gives permission for his name to be entered on the birth certificate for a child born in North Carolina.

Links to related FAQs:
Paternity FAQs for the General Public
Paternity FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Establishing Support (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   What are some of the legal ways to establish a child support order?

A.   Child support orders can be established in the following ways:

Q.   How is the amount of child support determined?

A.   The amount of child support to be paid is based upon the NC Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are used to calculate child support orders based on the ability of parents to pay and the needs of the children. The amount of child support is calculated using the worksheets contained in the guidelines.

Q.   Do the guidelines allow adjustments for second families?

A.   Yes. The guidelines allow adjustments for each of your biological children from another relationship, as long as the children are living with you. See the NC Child Support Guidelines for more information.

Q.   What about an adjustment for parents who pay health insurance?

A.   The guidelines provide a credit for the cost of health insurance.

Q.   Can I get health insurance for my child as part of the child support order?

A.   Yes. North Carolina law mandates that all orders for child support must require either parent to provide health insurance to cover the child(ren), if coverage is available through an employer or other group coverage is available at the time the order is issued or at any time in the future.

Q.   Can I receive child support if the noncustodial parent (NCP) is in prison?

A.   If the NCP has other assets, such as property or wages from a work release program, then child support can be collected while the parent is in prison.

Q.   What can I do to increase my child support order?

A.   CSS automatically reviews child support orders every three (3) years, if the family is receiving public assistance.  Other orders that are enforced through CSS can be reviewed every three (3) years, if either parent requests a review.  A review can be requested at any time if a substantial change in circumstances occurs.  CSS determines the present income and assets of both parents and the needs of the child(ren).  If appropriate, CSS then can seek to modify the order.

Q.   Both the noncustodial parent and I have moved from the county where our child support order was first obtained.  Does a new court order for child support need to be established in the county where we live now?

A.   No. It is possible to enforce an existing order, even when no one still lives in the area. Contact the local CSS office where you live to determine what is best for your case.

Links to related FAQs:
Establishment FAQs for the General Public
Establishment FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Centralized Collections/NCCSCC (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   Who do I call if I have questions about payment or account information?

A.   For payment and account information, contact Customer Service Center at 1 (800) 992-9457.

Links to related FAQs:
Centralized Collections FAQs for the General Public
Centralized Collections FAQs for Noncustodial Parents
Centralized Collections FAQs for Employers

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Distribution/ Disbursement (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   How long after the NCP makes a payment should I receive a payment?

A.   If you have a Non-Public Assistance (NPA) case, your first child support payment will be in the form of a check, unless you have signed up for direct deposit.  That check should be mailed on the next business day after the payment was receipted.  You will receive subsequent payments through the ncKIDScard (debit card) program.  Payments are automatically deposited in your ncKIDScard account within two (2) business days after the noncustodial parent’s payment has been applied to your case.  If you receive Public Assistance, the child support payment will be used to reimburse the State for the Public Assistance that you have received.

Q.   Can I pick up my check in person?

A.   No, North Carolina Child Support Centralized Collections (NCCSCC) mails all checks.

Q.   What should I do if I have not received a check?

A.   If you do not receive your check within ten (10) business days of the date of disbursement, call the CSS Customer Service Center at 1-800-992-9457, or contact your local CSS office to sign an Affidavit and Indemnity Bond. This document must be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. If the check has not been cashed, a stop payment is placed on the original check and a new check is reissued. If the check has been cashed, further research must be done.  It could take two (2) to three (3) weeks to determine the status of the original check before a new check can be reissued.

Q.   What happens if the payor/NCP makes a payment without a payment coupon?

A.   If the payment does not include the NCP's MPI number and court docket number, your check could be delayed or the funds misapplied.  To avoid a delay or misapplication of funds, the NCP should use the complete 16-digit number as it is listed on the coupon.

Q.   What is ncKIDScard?

A.   The “ncKIDScard” (debit card) program replaces paper checks for custodial parents who meet the enrollment criteria and have not signed up for direct deposit.  The ncKIDScard automatic enrollment process begins as soon as the custodial parent receives a child support payment by check.

Q.   What should I do if I have questions about my ncKIDScard account balance?

A.   You can call Bancorp Bank Customer Service (1-877-776-9759), access your account online (http://www.smionecard.com), or verify your balance using an ATM machine.  You will receive a monthly statement for your ncKIDScard account by mail.

Q.   What is direct deposit?

A.   Custodial parents can choose to have their child support payments automatically deposited instead of receiving their payments through ncKIDScard.  Direct deposit transfers funds electronically from the noncustodial parent’s payment into a checking or debit card account that the custodial parent designates.  Savings accounts cannot be used for direct deposit.  For more information, seedirect deposit.

Q.   How can I sign up for direct deposit?

A.   Complete an Authorization For Automatic Deposit Of Child Support form and attach a voided blank check (or other form of verification, if using a debit card account.)  To have this form mailed to you, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-992-9457 between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  To download this form, see direct deposit.  Please allow three (3) to four (4) weeks for direct deposit to take effect.

Q.   How can I change or terminate direct deposits?

A.   Complete an Authorization For Automatic Deposit of Child Support form.  To change financial institutions or the checking/debit account number at the same financial institution, submit a new authorization form and mark the “Bank Change” field.  Include a voided check or other form of verification.  To terminate direct deposit, submit the form and mark the “Cancellation” field.  To have this form mailed to you, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-992-9457 between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  To download this form, see direct deposit.

Q.   If the noncustodial parent (NCP) for my case makes a payment but owes child support for children in other cases, who receives the money?

A.   Payments are applied to all of the NCP’s cases.  The amount of the payment that is applied to each case is determined by the amount owed as current support and the amount of past due child support owed on each case.

Q.   How can I obtain a payment history?

A.   You can obtain a payment history through the eChild Support web site.  Logon and select the “Case/Financial Info” option.  Payment histories that show the last twelve (12) payments are available online.  To obtain a payment history for any time period before the last twelve (12) payments were made, contact the county CSS office handling your case.  You can also call the CSS Customer Service Center at 1-800-992-9457 between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm Monday through Friday.

Q.   If I receive public assistance (such as Work First Family Assistance), will I also receive child support payments?

A.   No.  In order to receive Work First Family Assistance (WFFA) payments, you are required to assign your rights to child support over to the CSS agency.  The child support that is collected is used to repay the state for the WFFA payments that you receive.

Q.   What happens if I stop receiving Work First Family Assistance (WFFA)?

A.   If you stop receiving WFFA, the child support that is collected is paid to you.  If any extra money is collected, it is applied to any past due support balance that is owed to you.  Once your past due support is repaid, any remaining money is applied to repay the state for the WFFA benefits that you have received.

Q.   If I receive a notice that I have been overpaid, will I receive my regular child support?

A.   CSS will notify you of the overpayment and give you thirty (30) days to repay it.  If you have not repaid the overpayment after thirty (30) days, your regular child support payments are reduced by ten percent (10%) until the state recoups the overpayment.

Links to related FAQs:
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for the General Public
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Enforcement (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   How can I receive child support if the judge puts the noncustodial parent (NCP) in jail for not paying child support?

A.   When the NCP is sentenced to jail for not paying child support, the judge sets an amount that the NCP must pay to be released from jail.  When and if this amount is paid, it is used to cover back child support.

Q.   When my child turns eighteen (18) years old, does child support stop?

A.   In North Carolina, if the child has graduated or stopped attending high school at age eighteen (18), the noncustodial parent (NCP) can stop paying ongoing child support. However, the NCP is responsible for any arrearages that are still owed.  If you have an interstate order, contact your CSS office.

Links to related FAQs:
Enforcement FAQs for the General Public

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Interstate (Custodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   I just moved to North Carolina but the father of my child lives in another state.  Can I still get child support services?

A.   Yes, interstate case processing provides for the same child support services as in any local case.  Be aware that your local CSS agency might have to request the assistance of the other state’s CSS agency when performing whatever case action is needed.  Case activities usually take longer when working with another state.  While CSS agencies in different states cooperate with each other when handling requests for assistance, enforcing the court order of another state is not a simple matter.  For additional information, contact your local CSS office. To apply for CSS services, get an application online or you can obtain and complete the application at your local CSS office.

Q.   What can I do if I was never married to the father of my child and he is living in another state?

A.   Apply for services at your local CSS office.  Genetic testing might be ordered to help prove paternity.  Once paternity is established, the other state’s guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support that is to be paid.

Q.   If I have a case in North Carolina, do I need to establish a new child support order each time the noncustodial parent moves to another state?

A.   No. Under Federal Interstate Laws, only one order can exist.

Q.   What happens when a noncustodial parent (NCP) who is living in another state does not pay his child support obligation?

A.   Once the NCP is located, the local CSS agency can request that the other state enforce the court order. If the NCP’s employer is known, local CSS can send a direct income withholding notice to the employer in the state where the NCP lives.

Q.   How can I receive child support when the court order is in another state and the noncustodial parent (NCP) moves frequently?

A.   It is difficult to enforce a child support order when the NCP moves on a regular basis.  Keep your caseworker informed of any new information that is obtained.  Your caseworker can access many resources, but their best source of information is you, the custodial parent.  Contact your local CSS office for more information.

Q.   I live in North Carolina, the noncustodial parent (NCP) lives in Nebraska, and our child support order was established in Florida.  Can this order be modified in N.C.?

A.   North Carolina CSS can register the Florida support order in Nebraska, where the order can be modified and enforced.

Q.   Can North Carolina enforce a child support order that was entered in another state?

A.   Yes, procedures for this activity are in place.  Providing a certified copy of the court order and a payment history can expedite the processing of the case. If you do not have a copy of the order, it is important to provide the county/state in which the court order was obtained, the approximate date of the order, and the court file number, if known.

Links to related FAQs:
Interstate FAQs for the General Public

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FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

General Information (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   Can the CSS office assist me with visitation and custody issues?

A.   No. Federal regulations do not allow the CSS office to provide services for visitation or custody disputes. Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. For these issues, consult with a private attorney.

Links to related FAQs:
General Info FAQs for the General Public
General Info FAQs for Custodial Parents
General Info FAQs for Employers

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Paternity (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   What are some legal ways to establish paternity?

A.   Paternity can be established in the following ways:

Q.   If I am unable to sign the Affidavit of Parentage in the hospital, can I complete this document at a later time?

A.   Yes. The Affidavit of Parentage can be signed at your local CSS office, or visit the N.C. Vital Records web site.

Q.   Will my name be placed on the birth certificate?

A.   Yes. When the natural mother and biological father sign an Affidavit of Parentage, the affidavit is filed with N.C. Vital Records. The father’s signature on the affidavit gives permission for his name to be entered on the birth certificate for a child born in North Carolina.

Q.   What if I am not sure I am the father?

A.   If there are any doubts about who is the father of the child, neither party should sign an Affidavit of Parentage.  Either parent can request genetic testing to assist in determining the father of the child.

Links to related FAQs:
Paternity FAQs for the General Public
Paternity FAQs for Custodial Parents

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Establishing Support (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   How is the amount of child support that I owe determined?

A.   The amount of child support to be paid is calculated using the worksheets contained in the NC Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are used to calculate child support orders based on the ability of parents to pay and the needs of the children.

Q.   Are there any adjustments for second families allowed in the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines?

A.   Yes. The guidelines allow adjustments for each of your biological children from another relationship, as long as the children are living with you. See the NC Child Support Guidelines for more information.

Q.   Do I receive credit if I pay for health insurance for my child(ren)?

A.   The guidelines provide a credit for the cost of health insurance.

Q. Do I have to provide health insurance for my child(ren) as part of the child support order?

A. Yes. North Carolina law mandates that all orders for child support must require either parent to provide health insurance available through an employer at the time the order is issued or at any time in the future to cover the child (ren).

Q. Do I have to pay child support if I am in prison?

A. If a noncustodial parent has other assets, such as property or wages from a work release program, then child support can be collected while the parent is in prison.

Q.   Can the amount I owe for child support order change?

A.   CSS automatically reviews child support orders every three (3) years if the family is receiving public assistance. Other orders being enforced through CSS office can be reviewed every three (3) years, if either parent requests a review.  A review can be requested at any time if a substantial change in circumstances occurs.  CSS determines the present income and assets of both parents and the needs of the child(ren). If appropriate, CSS then can seek to modify the order.

Links to related FAQs:
Establishment FAQs for the General Public
Establishment FAQs for Custodial Parents

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Centralized Collections/NCCSCC (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   Where should I send my payments?

A.   Mail your payments to:       N.C. Child Support Centralized Collections
                                                      PO Box 900006
                                                      Raleigh, NC 27675-9006

Q.   Can I come in person to NCCSCC to make a payment?

A.   No, you must mail your payment to the address above.

Q.   What ways can I use to make my payments?

A.   Child support can be paid in the following ways:

Q.   What is an MPI number and where can I get one?

A.   Every participant in a CSS case is assigned a Master Participant Index (MPI) number, a unique 10-digit identification number.  Your MPI number appears on your payment coupons.  If you do not have a payment coupon, contact your local CSS office or Clerk of Court, who can provide your MPI number.

Q.   What are payment coupons and where can I get them?

A.   Payment coupons are mailed with your monthly billing statement; they identify you as the payor so that your payment can be sent to the correct payee(s).  If you do not have a payment coupon, be sure to write your docket number and MPI number on your payment.  Regardless of whether or not you have a payment coupon, you are still required to make a payment by the due date.  (To obtain a payment coupon, click here, contact your local CSS office, or call the Customer Service Center at 1 (800) 992-9457.)

Q.   What happens if I send a payment without a payment coupon?

A.   Your payment could be delayed or the funds misapplied.  You should write your MPI number, Social Security number, and docket number on your payment to avoid this.  To obtain your MPI number and docket number, contact your local CSS office or Clerk of Court.

Q.   What should I do if my personal check bounces?

A.   Please do not immediately send another check to NCCSCC to replace the bounced check.  Contact the Department of Health and Human Services Controller's Office at 919-334-1199 for instructions.

Q.   What happens if my personal check is returned for nonsufficient funds?

A.   You lose your privilege to use personal checks for payment of child support, and you could be prosecuted.

Q.   What is a “purge” payment and can I send a "purge" payment to NCCSCC?

A.   If the court finds a payor/ noncustodial parent (NCP) in contempt for failing to pay his/her ordered child support obligation, the judge can set a “purge” amount that the payor/ NCP must pay to avoid serving time in jail.  The payor/ NCP must make a purge payment to the entity specified by the court (often the Clerk of Court), but purge payments are not mailed directly to NCCSCC.  Only money orders, certified checks, or cash are accepted as purge payments.

Q.   Who do I call if I have questions about payment or account information?

A.   For payment and account information, contact Customer Service Center at 1 (800) 992-9457.

Links to related FAQs:
Centralized Collections FAQs for the General Public
Centralized Collections FAQs for Custodial Parents
Centralized Collections FAQs for Employers

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Distribution/ Disbursement (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   After I make a child support payment, how soon will the custodial parent in my case receive the payment?

A.   If the custodial parent in a Non-Public Assistance (NPA) case has an ncKIDScard account, the payment is deposited automatically in that ncKIDScard account within two (2) business days after the payment has been applied to the custodial parent’s case.  If the custodial parent is enrolled in direct deposit, the payment transmittals are generally processed within two (2) to three (3) business days after the payment has been applied to the custodial parent’s case.  If the custodial parent is receiving Public Assistance, the payment generally is sent to reimburse the State for the Public Assistance that was paid.

Q.   How are my payments applied if I have more than one case?

A.   Federal and state laws require that payments from a payor/ NCP with more than one child support case be divided among all of their cases.  The amount of the payment that is applied to each case is determined by the amount owed as current support and the amount of past due child support owed on each case.  This is known as “proration”.

Q.   Can I make a payment to one case without the money being applied to my other child support cases?

A.   ALL payments that you make through NCCSCC are applied to ALL of your child support cases.  Judges can order noncustodial parents to make a “purge” payment for a specific case as a result of court action; however, these payments must be paid directly to the local Clerk of Superior Court.

Links to related FAQs:
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for the General Public
Distribution/Disbursement FAQs for Custodial Parents

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Income Withholding (Noncustodial Parent FAQs)

Q.   What happens when my employer receives an income withholding notice for my case(s)?

A.   When an employer receives a notice of wage withholding from the state of North Carolina (or any other state), they are obligated under federal and state laws to begin withholding child support and to remit it to the state under the terms of the wage withholding notice.

Q.   How soon will income withholding begin?

A.   Your employer must begin withholding child support payments from your first pay period that occurs no later than fourteen (14) days AFTER they received the withholding notice.  Your employer must send these funds to the North Carolina Child Support Centralized Collections Operation (NCCSCC) within seven (7) days of your pay date/ withholding date.  You are responsible for making your child support payments by their due date until the wage withholding has taken affect.

Q.   What is the maximum amount that can be withheld each pay period from my income?

A.   The percentage of disposable income that is withheld cannot exceed:

However, employers can withhold an amount more than the maximum allowed by law if you provide CSS with a notarized written statement that allows a higher percentage to be withheld.

Links to related FAQs:
Income Withholding FAQs for Employers

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FAQs For Employers

General Information (Employer FAQs)

Q.   What happens when my employee changes jobs?

A.   The law requires employers to notify CSS or the Clerk of Court when their employees who are NCPs change employment.  (NCPs are also required to notify the CSS agency when they change employment.)  Employers must report all of their new employees through the New Hire Reporting program, which makes it easier for CSS to find out about the NCP’s change in employment. 

Q.   What is New Hire Reporting?

A.   Employers doing business in North Carolina are required to report all newly hired employees to the NC New Hire Directory.  This information is shared with other states in a National New Hire Database.  Prompt reporting enables CSS to locate noncustodial parents faster and increase child support collections.  Employer’s can report online at the New Hire web site.

Links to related FAQs:
General Info FAQs for the General Public
General Info FAQs for Custodial Parents
General Info FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Centralized Collections/NCCSCC (Employer FAQs)

Q.   What are my responsibilities as an employer?

A.   When the State of North Carolina (or any other state) sends a notice of wage withholding for an employee, employers are obligated under federal and state laws to begin withholding child support and to remit it to the State under the terms of the wage withholding notice. The notice informs employers of the amount of withholding, the time frame for submitting withheld wages, the fee that they can charge for administrative costs, and the limits on withholding under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

Q.   Where should employers send the child support payment?

A.   Employers should make payments payable to “NC Child Support” and submit payments to:
N.C. Child Support Centralized Collections
P.O. Box 900012
Raleigh, NC 27675-9012

Q.   Is there a special form I must send with the check for my employees' child support?

A.   CSS sends you a child support remittance form with the employee's identifying information on it.  This list should accompany your check for the child support that you have withheld from that employee's income.

Q.   What if I am withholding child support for an employee who is not on the list?

A. Return the list with corrections as indicated in the packet.  We make sure that the correct local CSS office or court receives the information to update the child support records based on the provided information.

Q.   What identifying information is required?

A.   The remittance form that CSS provides includes the required identifying information from the child support record:  the name of the obligor (the parent who owes child support), his/her MPI (Master Participant Index) number from the child support computer record, and the 16-digit docket number of the child support case for which the money was withheld.  If an employee's name is not included on the remittance list, you should also provide the employee's Social Security number with his/her payment.  Please indicate the amount of the child support remittance for each employee and the date when the child support was withheld from his/her salary.

Q.   How do I get an MPI number or docket number for an employee's case?

A.   If these numbers do not appear on your list of employees who owe child support or if you have a new employee, call NCCSCC at 1-877-280-EMPL (3675); or locally at 919-787-0310.

Q.   What are my responsibilities if one of my employees who is paying child support leaves his/her job?

A.   You must notify the state promptly when an employee with a child support obligation terminates employment.  Provide his or her name, last known address, and the name and address of the new employer if you know it. Call the local CSS office or the County Court that issued the wage withholding order to ensure that the employee's record is up to date.

Q.   Do I send payments to another state through NCCSCC?

A.   No, continue to send them to the other state.

Links to related FAQs:
Centralized Collections FAQs for the General Public
Centralized Collections FAQs for Custodial Parents
Centralized Collections FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Income Withholding (Employer FAQs)

Q.   What do I do when I receive an income withholding notice for one of my employees?

A.   When the state of North Carolina (or any other state) sends an employer a notice of wage withholding for an employee, that employer is obligated under federal and state laws to begin withholding child support and to remit it to the state under the terms of the wage withholding notice.

Q.   How soon must I begin withholding income for my employee?

A.   Employers must begin withholding child support payments from the employee’s first pay period that occurs no later than fourteen (14) days AFTER the employer received the withholding notice.  Employers must send these funds to the North Carolina Child Support Centralized Collections Operation (NCCSCC) within seven (7) days of the employee’s pay date/ withholding date.  The employee is responsible for making the child support payments by their due date until the wage withholding has taken affect.

Q.   What is the maximum amount that can be withheld each pay period from my employee’s income?

A.   The percentage of disposable income that is withheld cannot exceed the following:

However, employers can withhold an amount more than the maximum allowed by law if their employee provides CSS with a notarized written statement that allows a higher percentage to be withheld.

Links to related FAQs:
Income Withholding FAQs for Noncustodial Parents

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Page Modified 05/01/2013

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