How North Carolina Courts Enforce Child Support Orders

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

For parents who have primary custody of their children, child support is a necessity and not a luxury. This money is essential for meeting children’s basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, and the many additional expenses that come with raising a child.

Parents are under a legal and moral duty to provide for their children; unfortunately, not all parents fulfill their duty. When there is a court order for child support in place, this duty becomes legally enforceable. So what happens when a parent who has been ordered to pay child support fails to meet their obligation?

Child Support Enforcement Actions

North Carolina General Statute Section 50-13.4 allows for any parent or person that has custody of a child to file a legal action seeking child support for the child. A court will then consider numerous factors and issue a monthly child support obligation that meets the “reasonable needs of the child for health, education, and maintenance.” If a parent fails to pay this support, the statute prescribes numerous methods that a court can employ to compel a parent to meet their child support obligation, including:

  1. Securing payment with a bond, mortgage, deed of trust, assignment of wages, or “any other means ordinarily used to secure an obligation to pay money or transfer property”;
  2. Ordering the transfer of real or personal property, or a property interest;
  3. Arresting the parent with bail as a security;
  4. Ordering wage garnishment and attachment, with the parent owed the support named creditor of the obligation;
  5. Issuing injunctive relief against the parent owing support;
  6. The appointment of a receiver;
  7. Naming the child as a creditor of the debt;
  8. Issue a lien against real property, so long as the court expressly states the lien amount and describes the property affected; and
  9. Order periodic payments to satisfy the outstanding obligation, enforceable by civil contempt proceedings for which disobedience by the paying parent is punishable by criminal contempt.

Child support is a matter that family courts take very seriously, and as you can see, the legislature has provided a wide range of enforcement penalties for courts to employ. No parent wants to see their property taken or their wages garnished. And obviously, no parent wants to be arrested or face criminal contempt proceedings.

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

We take the care, custody, and support of children very seriously. If you are seeking child custody, child support, modification of existing orders, or enforcement of orders, contact New Direction Family Law. We pride ourselves in our knowledge of the law, and our ability to effectively apply the law to meet our clients’ objectives. Our team proudly serves Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.

Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law
(919) 719-3470