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Enforcing Child Support Orders

Child Support Enforcement (or CSE) is an office under the Social Services Division of the Health and Human Services Department of the State of North Carolina. The CSE office can be found in every county of the state and has the authority to require a child's parent to provide mandatory child support payments. The child support can be enforced regardless if the if the agreement was settlement during a divorce, a civil paternity lawsuit, or simply via a voluntary agreement.

The CSE can use a number of methods to make a parent stick their legal obligations. Examples of such are presenting the case to a credit agency, canceling the parent’s driver's license, putting a legal claim on the parent’s property, or passing a court order to detain or incarcerate the delinquent parent.

The key function of the CSE is to recover the financial support required from a parent. This function is primarily done through withholding any amount due to the parent, including a portion of the parent's salary or earnings from work, insurance due to the parent and tax refunds from the state or federal tax. This also includes benefits from agencies such as Veterans' agency, Social Security, and other funds, grants, allowances, and payments due.

Depending on the amount that was not paid, a delinquent parent may experience a cancellation of his or her passport if more than $2,500 in support is unpaid, a lien on their property if $3,000 or more than three months is owed, a levy on their bank accounts if $1,000 or six months of support is unpaid, and revocation of a their professional or driver’s license if they are behind on support payments for more than 90 days.

The non-payment of child support does not immediately mean enforcement and arrest. There is typically a 30 day buffer on the obligatory financial support before the CSE can compel a parent to pay the child support requirement. If a parent is unable to comply with their obligations, the parent will need to appear in court for the judge to decide on whether or not a penalty is due and if the parents circumstances have changed in such a way that the child support amount needs to be modified.


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The following are allowable fault grounds for divorce in North Carolina: abandonment of the family, maliciously turning the other out of doors, cruel or barbarous treatment that endangers the life of the other, indignities which render the other spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or adultery.
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