Child support is the term used to describe the financial support paid by a parent that is not living with his or her child.
North Dakota Child Support
In North Dakota, there is a coalition of federal, state, and county government agencies that can help families secure North Dakota support for children from their non-custodial parents.
These agencies assist families that are enrolled in public programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly Aid to Families with Dependent children (AFDC)); or Medicaid, as well as those who are not currently receiving public assistance. Most of the child support services are provided at the local level by North Dakota’s Regional Child Support Enforcement Units.
Child Support Programs
North Dakota Child Support Programs can help families ensure the financial needs of their children by locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, and establishing or enforcing a court order for child support.
These services are provided to any family living in North Dakota that requests help in obtaining child support. In addition, families that are currently receiving state or federal public assistance in the form of TANF or Medicaid, will automatically be referred to North Dakota’s Regional Child Support Enforcement Unit.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to cooperate with the child support agency in order ensure that child support payments are collected in full and on time. In addition, TANF or Medicaid recipients that do not cooperate with the Child Support Enforcement officers may see their benefits reduced or terminated.
North Dakota Child Support Programs works on approximately 50,000 cases each year. In 2003, this office collected child support payments totaling about $91.5 million dollars. See the website listed below for more statistical information about North Dakota’s Child Support Program.
Locating A Non-custodial Parent
If the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown, the caseworker at the North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Office can utilize state and federal information to determine his or her location. The agency can access governmental agencies and New Hire reporting data in an attempt to find the non-custodial parent. Child support enforcement officers may also contact the non-custodial parent’s friends, family, and employers for information leading to the non-custodial parent's whereabouts.
Applying For North Dakota Child Support
In North Dakota, you can apply for child support using one of two methods. You can apply manually by filling out an application packet and mailing or delivering it to your local child support enforcement office. This packet can be accessed online at the web address listed below.
In addition, you can contact North Dakota’s Child Support Customer Service office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (701) 328-3582 or 1-800-755-8530 (toll free in North Dakota) to obtain an application. You can also complete this application online and submit it electronically to the appropriate office.
Whether you are completing the form manually or electronically, be sure to provide as much information as possible so that your Child Support Enforcement Caseworker can immediately begin to process your application. You will also need to mail in a copy of your child support order as well as a record of any payments that have already been made.
Once you have submitted your application for services, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before you will see your first child support payments. The time involved depends upon the accuracy of the information in your application, the cooperation of the non-custodial parent, and the general workload of the staff at the Regional Child Support Enforcement Office.
Establishing A Child’s Paternity
Before you can begin the process of obtaining child support, you will need to definitively establish the child’s paternity. North Dakota Child Support Enforcement officers can assist families in legally establishing paternity. If necessary, the court may become involved in order to determine paternity.
If the alleged father denies or is unsure of the child’s paternity, genetic testing of the mother, child, and alleged father can be utilized to establish what is called a “legal presumption of paternity.” Because these genetic tests are highly accurate, they are a reliable method for determining paternity.
In addition to the financial benefits, establishing a child’s paternity can help a child gain legal rights and privileges such as medical and life insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, and possibly veterans' benefits from his or her father. The child will also have a better understanding of his or her family’s medical history.
Obtaining North Dakota Child Support Orders
Once paternity is legally established, it will be necessary to establish a child support order in order to collect child support payments. In North Dakota, the court will calculate the amount of support to be paid using the North Dakota Child Support Guidelines.
These guidelines take into consideration the financial and custodial needs of the child. They are based upon the non-custodial parent's income, factoring in such situations as self-employment, and extended visitation.