In North Dakota, when a couple has a minor child and they separate or divorce, there will be a child support order. How is this calculated? See below.

(1) What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is in place to ensure that the child is financially supported within their formative years. Child support payments are generally based upon four categories: shelter, clothing, food, and health care. Other items such as entertainment or extracurricular activities are not a “necessity” according to the child support evaluation.  However, it is important to note that the parent paying child support has no say in how the parent receiving child support allocates such funds.

(2) How are Child Support Payments Calculated?

There are several factors that can impact how much a parent is ordered to pay in monthly child support. The most important factors are the type of custody arrangement (primary residential responsibility v. equal residential responsibility), number of children and income of the parents. Deductions can be awarded for a parent providing health insurance for the child and if a parent has more than 100 overnights with the child a year. A list of guidelines as to what is included in the overall calculation of the child support amount can be found within N.D. Admin. Code 75-02-04.1

In North Dakota, the Department of Human Services established child support guidelines to be used by courts to determine the amount a parent should be expected to contribute towards the support of a child.

(3) Child Support Order

Once the child support monthly payment is calculated, the next step is to obtain a child support order. It is recommended to take this approach as it provides the means for enforcement of the calculated child support obligations. To do so, a child support petition will need to be filed. In a custody or divorce was with a minor child, this will be addressed in a final order. Typically, once child support has been ordered, the obligor (the one paying child support) will have his payment automatically taken out of his paycheck.

An alternative to getting a court order is for both parents to come to an agreement as to how much the child support payments should be. Get this is writing and signed by both parties. However, it is important to note that this approach generally lacks enforcement power as it is not a valid court order. 

(4) What if the Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?

North Dakota has several tools and resources available in order to collect on unpaid child support. Generally, child support is collected through an income withholding order, meaning the child support obligation will be automatically deducted from your paycheck. However, if the parent does not uphold the child support obligation, the State can take the necessary steps to ensure that payments are received. 

Some options may include:

– Withholding federal tax refunds;

– Garnishing wages or income;

– Suspension of driver’s and/or professional license;

– Issuing a lien against property or real estate;

– And many more.

The child support process can be difficult and overwhelming. Whether you have questions about calculating the proper amount of the child support obligation, the terms of an order, or other related custody or child support concerns, let an experienced attorney at Rosenquist Law Office guide you through the process.

Contact Rosenquist Law Office by phone at (701) 775-0654 or email us at lawinfo@rosenquistlawoffice.com to schedule a free consultation.

*The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. 

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