North Dakota Child Support
Laws, Enforcement, & Information

The North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Agency is the first stop to understanding how child support works. Child Support exists to raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from both of their parents.

The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home.

North Dakota Child Support


North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Agency Programs

The enforcement program provides a variety of services when there is a case open with the program. Parents who are not receiving services, but would like to open a case, may apply for services at no cost.

Both custodial and non-custodial parents may make an application. Parents who are not sure whether they already have a case open with the program may contact the Customer Service Unit.

A case is open with the program when the child receives public assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid, without application for services from either parent. In addition, a case is open with the program when a child enters into a foster care setting.

Services are provided by eight Regional Child Support Enforcement Units. In addition to providing services on open cases, the program is responsible for receiving and disbursing all child support payments, whether or not there is an open case. This service is provided by the State Disbursement Unit.

Locate Service

There are times when the location of a non-custodial parent is unknown. When the location is unknown, it is difficult, and in some cases impossible, to provide needed services on the case. The North Dakota Child Support Enforcement program has access to information on a local, state, and national level from a variety of sources to help in locating parents.

In addition to locating the parent's whereabouts, information may also be used to find out about such things as employment information, assets, and income. Information received by the program is only used in the delivery of the program's services or as otherwise allowed under state or federal law.

Establishing Paternity

A North Dakota Child Support order cannot be established for a child who is born to unmarried parents until the alleged father is determined to be the father. This determination may be made through an acknowledgment of paternity or by involvement of a court.

If the alleged father denies he is the father, or is not sure he is the father, genetic testing of the mother, child, and alleged father may be conducted. Genetic tests are highly accurate; their results indicate a probability of paternity and can establish a legal presumption of paternity.

These tests can exclude a man who is not the father and can also indicate the likelihood of paternity if he is not excluded. Child Support Enforcement has a contract with LabCorp, a genetic testing laboratory, to conduct genetic tests for a cost of $34 per person tested.

There are many benefits to establishing paternity besides those involving establishing a support order. These include providing basic emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child.

Once paternity is established legally, a child gains legal rights and privileges. Among these may be rights to inheritance, the father's medical and life insurance benefits, and social security and possibly veterans' benefits. The child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father, and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the "other half" of his or her family.

Income Withholding

Income withholding is initiated when the non-custodial parent's employer is known. The North Dakota Child Support order is enforceable by "immediate" income withholding, or the non-custodial is delinquent in paying support. This is referred to as "delinquency-based" income withholding

A North Dakota Child Support order established or modified on or after January 1, 1990, is enforceable by immediate income withholding. This means that income withholding must be initiated even if the obligor is not delinquent in paying support.

Most North Dakota Child Support orders are enforceable by immediate income withholding. The only exceptions to immediate income withholding are as follows:

The order was established before January 1, 1990, and the order has not been modified since that time, or

The order was established or modified on or after January 1, 1990, and the court has made a written finding that there is good cause for not requiring immediate income withholding, or the court has approved an agreement for an alternative arrangement. Both the good cause finding and the alternative arrangement must meet specific provisions of state law.

Delinquency-Based Income Withholding

If a North Dakota Child Support order is not enforceable by immediate income withholding because the order was established before January 1, 1990, and hasn't been modified since that time, or because the court has made a finding of good cause or has approved an alternative arrangement, income withholding must be initiated if the obligor becomes delinquent in paying support – with no exception. (An obligor is considered to be delinquent in paying support when payments which the obligor has failed to make are equal to or greater than the monthly obligation.)

North Dakota Child Support Guidelines

North Dakota Child Support obligations are calculated using the North Dakota Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are based upon the non-custodial parent's income and factor in multiple family situations, consideration of income for underemployment and unemployment, self-employment, and extended visitation.

It is presumed that the amount of child support that would result from the application of the child support guidelines is the correct amount. A court may deviate from the presumed amount in some areas for reasons provided for in the guidelines if the judge determines that the amount established under the guidelines is not the correct amount of child support. The reasons for deviating from the guidelines take into consideration the best interests of the child.

Court orders for medical support are also established. Most often, the order will require the non-custodial parent to provide health insurance coverage for the child if it is available on a group basis or through an employer unless health insurance coverage is available to the custodial parent at no or nominal cost.

Enforcement Order

The program will work to enforce the child support amount that is ordered by the court. These are some of the enforcement tools used:

  • Income withholding
  • Federal and state tax refund offset
  • Lottery prize offset
  • Report to credit bureaus
  • License and vehicle registration suspension
  • Passport denial
  • Freeze and seize real and personal property
  • Claim against estate and inheritance
  • Refer for state or criminal prosecution

These same tools may also be used to enforce a dollar-specific amount for medical support.

To enforce health insurance coverage ordered by a court, the program issues a National Medical Support Notice to the non-custodial parent's employer requiring the employer to enroll the child in any available health insurance plan.

Autopay Program

A new service is available to noncustodial parents through North Dakota Child Support Enforcement. This new service is known as “autopay.” Under autopay, a noncustodial parent’s child support obligation is automatically withdrawn from his or her bank account on about the fifth working day of each month. Autopay replaces income withholding.

To qualify for the autopay program, a noncustodial parent's case(s) must be receiving services from Child Support Enforcement, the noncustodial parent must be a good payer, must have a bank account that the child support obligation can be withdrawn from, and must complete an application for autopay.

For autopay purposes, a “good payer” means that the noncustodial parent has paid the full amount of the child support obligation for at least the past nine (9) months or since the support order was entered, whichever is less.

Modifications

Setting child support obligations under the North Dakota Child Support Guidelines does not ensure that orders, over time, continue to meet the support standards set by the guidelines. Therefore, orders may be periodically reviewed and, if appropriate, adjusted to the guideline amount.

North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Units (RCSEUs) will generally review child support orders that are at least three years old. This means that it has been at least three years since the order was entered or last reviewed. The RCSEU will review orders that are less than three years old in some situations.

These situations are called exceptions to the three-year rule (20kb pdf). If your child support order is less than three years old, and you wish to have it reviewed, you may contact your RCSEU if you need more information on any of the exceptions.

If the family entitled to support is receiving public assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the RCSEU will review the order even if neither parent requested a review.

This is because the rights to support in those cases are assigned to the Department of Human Services. In cases in which the family entitled to support is not receiving public assistance under TANF, the RCSEU will only initiate the review upon the written request of either the custodial parent or non-custodial parent.

If you wish to request a review of your child support order, you may do so by making the request in writing to the RCSEU. The request should contain your name and social security number as well as the other parent's name and social security number (if known). If a case is not already open with an RCSEU, an application for services will also be required.

To do the review, the RCSEU gathers the non-custodial parent's financial information. The information is then applied to the guidelines. When the review is complete, each parent will receive notice of the results of the review.

Results of the review may show no adjustment is appropriate, an upward adjustment is appropriate, or a downward adjustment is appropriate. There are opportunities for each parent to agree or disagree with the results. In any event, a court must approve any final adjusted order.

If a parent wishes to pursue an adjustment of an order that is less than three years old and the order does not fit any of the "exceptions to the three-year rule," such action must be taken privately. For example, the parent can hire a private attorney to take this action. Or the parent may wish to use child support modification forms that were created by the Supreme Court for parents who are representing themselves.

North Dakota Child Support Customer Support

Bismarck

Mailing Address:

Child Support Enforcement Division

P.O. Box 7190

Bismarck, ND 58507-7190

Street Address:

Child Support Enforcement Division

1600 E. Century Avenue, Suite 7

Bismarck, ND 58503

Phone: (701) 328-3582

Nationwide Toll Free: (800) 231-4255

TTY: (800) 366-6888

Fax: (701) 328-5425

Mailing Address (Payments only):

SDU

P.O. Box 7280

Bismarck, ND 58507-7280

Phone: (701) 328-5440 (Automated Voice Response)

Nationwide Toll Free: (800) 231-4255

Fax: (701) 328-6575


Devils Lake

Mailing Address: Devils Lake RCSEU

206 5th Street NE

Devils Lake, ND 58301-2426

Phone: (701) 665-4475

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users

) Fax: (701) 662-1351


Dickinson

Mailing Address: Dickinson RCSEU

135 Sims Street #202

Dickinson, ND 58601-5141

Phone: (701) 227-7424

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 227-7427


Fargo 

Mailing Address: Fargo RCSEU

P.O. Box 2987

Fargo, ND 58108-2987

Street Address: Fargo RCSEU

4950 13th Ave South, Suite 22

Fargo, ND 58102

Phone: (701) 298-4900

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 298-4930


Grand Forks

Mailing Address: Grand Forks RCSEU

P.O. Box 5756

Grand Forks, ND 58206-5756

Street Address: Grand Forks RCSEU

151 South 4th Street, Suite N101

Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone: (701) 795-3960

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 775-3130


Jamestown

Mailing Address: Jamestown RCSEU

P.O. Box 427

Jamestown, ND 58402-0427

Street Address:

Jamestown RCSEU

804 13th Street NE

Jamestown, ND 58401

Phone: (701) 253-6260

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users) 1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 253-3932


Minot

Mailing Address:

Minot RCSEU

P.O. Box 2249

Minot, ND 58702-2249

Street Address:

Minot RCSEU

305 17th Avenue SW Suite A

Minot, ND 58701

Phone: (701) 857-7696

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 857-7777


Williston

Mailing Address:

Williston RCSEU

P.O. Box 2047

Williston, ND 58802-2047

Street Address:

205 East Broadway

Williston, ND 58801

Phone: (701) 774-7940

TTY: 1-800-366-6888 (text users)

1-800-366-6889 (voice users)

Fax: (701) 774-4332


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