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NOTE: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes and are designed to help you in representing yourself. Please carefully review the directions and resources available to improve your performance in your case. Failure to read and follow the instructions may adversely impact your case. If you have any questions, please consult with an attorney.
WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT?
The packet available in the SelfServe Center allows a party to file for child support to care for a child. This packet also contains the forms to file for childsupport to care for the child(ren). Please note that the forms assume that one parent is suing another. If you are a grandparent or other third party relative, please ask for the packet titled Non-parent Custody or Non-parent Custody and Child Support.
CAN OR SHOULD I FILE FOR CHILD SUPPORT?
Please note that the SelfServe Center staff CANNOT provide legal advice. Therefore, we cannot tell you if you should file or what you should file, but we can tell you that you must meet certain criteria to be eligible. These forms should be used if there has never been any court proceeding or order regarding child support relating to the specific child in question. If a child support order has been entered in your case, you must use another set of forms to modify the existing order. Additionally, THE CHILD MUST HAVE LIVED IN NORTH CAROLINA FOR THE 6 MONTHS PRECEDING FILING, OR SINCE BIRTH IF LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OLD. Note: If you have a Domestic Violence Protective Order, you may still use these forms to establish permanent support for your child(ren).
Please Note for Support Cases: These forms are used for cases of child support that fall within the established North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. If you want child support in excess of the Guidelines amount, you should consult with an attorney.
WHAT DO I DO FIRST?
After you get your packet, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! Then fill out the first five forms on the checklist by typing or printing neatly in ink. You may fill them out at home or at the courthouse. Please read the forms carefully as some have a “Verification” page. This means that they must be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. If the document does require this, do not sign until you are in front of a Notary. They can be likely found at banks, law firms, and insurance agencies. A few may also be found in the Yellow Pages. Notaries often charge a small fee and require you to show a picture ID for their services. Be sure you have your documents already notarized when you take them to the Clerk’s Office to file.
The SelfServe Center has a video available on filing for child support. It is suggested that you view it for procedural information.
After the forms are filled out and notarized, you must make 2 COPIES (one for yourself, one for the other party and the original for the file).
Please make sure that you have cash or a money order to pay the filing fee associated with the action you are seeking to file. Personal checks are not accepted. If you want the Sheriff of Mecklenburg County to serve the documents on the defendant, please bring an additional $30.00 (cash, cashier’s check, money order) made payable to the sheriff’s office. If the defendant lives outside of Mecklenburg County, pay the service of process fee to the sheriff of the county where the defendant resides. (Please refer to the “Service of Process” sheet in this packet for more information).
Take your completed forms, 2 copies and filing fee to the Civil Filing Department (Clerk’s Office) at 832 E. Fourth Street, Room 3725.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Your case involves complicated legal issues! This packet describes the general process, but it is impossible to cover everything that may affect your rights. If you get confused during the process, you should stop and seek advice from an attorney. The staff of the SelfServe Center, Clerk of Court, Judge, or the Trial Court Administrator’s Office CANNOT GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVICE! PLEASE…if you are thinking of contacting an attorney, do so as soon as possible. Unless there is an emergency, try to contact an attorney at least 30 days before your hearing. Waiting could decrease your chances of obtaining representation.