North Carolina law helps ensure that children receive emotional and financial support from both parents. Child Support Services helps parents who need to request a court order for child support, enforce an existing order and/or establish paternity.

If your marriage has ended or you are not in a relationship with your child’s other parent, read on to learn more about how North Carolina child support works.

How to apply for services

CSS offers an online application to print or you can apply directly online. You must pay $25 with your request unless you qualify for public benefits. In your application, you must detail the types of services you need from the agency. CSS can help you find the child’s other parent if you do not know where he or she lives, establish paternity through a court-ordered DNA test, create a court order establishing child support payments, serve notice about this order to the noncustodial parent and enforce penalties for failure to pay child support.

How the court calculates child support

The financial support the child receives from each parent should help the family members maintain a similar lifestyle even after the marriage ends. The judge uses a formula to calculate support, accounting for:

  • Child care expenses
  • Educational costs
  • Each parent’s income
  • Health insurance premium costs
  • The existing child custody and visitation order if applicable

When both parents agree

If you have a good relationship with your co-parent and agree on issues involving support, you can establish an independent agreement without the help of CSS. Submit the signed agreement to the court in your district. If the judge approves your arrangement, he or she will make it legally binding.

Either parent can apply for child support services. Even if you do not have custody, establishing paternity and financially supporting your child may help you build a relationship with him or her. If you do have custody, seeking services will give your child the opportunity to share a relationship with both parents.