This section has basic information about child support in North Dakota.
How much child support can I get?
When deciding how much child support to award, the judge starts with what is called a guideline amount. This is an amount the judge gets off of a chart that sets how much a parent has to pay based on that parent’s gross income and how many children the parent has to support, among other factors. The judge assumes that the guideline amount is appropriate but each parent can argue that the amount should be more or less and the judge will consider the best interests of the child when making the final decision. The order will likely also include a separate amount of child support for health insurance coverage and other medical support.1
To see the child support guidelines chart, you can go to the state government’s child support website. The state government website also has a child support calculator so you can see a rough estimate of how much support may need to be paid.
For help establishing paternity or applying for child support, you can go to the North Dakota Child Support website.
1 N.D.C.C. § 14-09-09.7(1), (4), (6)
How long will child support payments last? Until my child reaches what age?
Generally, a child support order lasts until the child turns 18. However, if your child is enrolled in and attending high school when s/he turns 18 and still living with you, you will continue to get child support until whichever of these events happens first:
- your child graduates from high school (in which case the order lasts until the end of the month in which s/he graduates); or
- your child turns 19.1
For the child support to continue until your child’s graduation, you may need to file an affidavit with the district court in which you state that your child will still be in high school when s/he turns 18, the school s/he is in, and the expected graduation date. There is no fee to file this affidavit.2
1 N.D.C.C. § 14-09-08.2(1)
2 N.D.C.C. § 14-09-08.2(3)
What are the penalties if the other parent is not paying the child support owed?
If the other parent owes past-due child support, the judge can require him/her to:
- pay past-due support in amounts agreed upon in a plan that is approved by the court or by the child support agency;
- participate in any “work activities” (as defined by law) that the judge believes are appropriate (unless s/he is incapacitated); and
- participate in treatment for mental illness or drug or alcohol dependency if appropriate.1
If the parent owes more than three months of past-due support (arrears) and s/he is not following the court-established plan to repay the unpaid child support arrears, the judge can order a suspension (or withholding) of the parent’s driver’s license and occupational, professional, or recreational certificate, permit, or license. However, the parent would then have 30 days to pay the full amount owed in order to avoid the suspension or withholding from taking effect.2
1 N.D.C.C. § 14-08.1-05.1(1)
2 N.D.C.C. §§ 14-08.1-06; 14-08.1-07
Can the amount being paid in a child support order be changed?
If your child support order is being enforced by the state government child support agency, the order will most likely be reviewed by the child support agency every three years. If, upon review, the child support agency determines that the order provides for child support payments in an amount that is inconsistent with the amount that would be required by the child support guidelines, the child support agency has the option to seek an amendment of the order. However, if the child support payments are less than eighty-five percent of the guidelines amount (or more than one hundred fifteen percent of the guidelines amount), the child support agency is required to seek an amendment of the order.1
Aside from the child support agency’s review that generally takes place every three years, a parent paying child support or a parent receiving child support can file to amend the order so that it matches the child support guidelines. However, if the petition for an amendment is filed within one year of when the most recent order was entered, the party seeking the amendment must show a substantial (material) change of circumstances.2
1 N.D.C.C. § 14-09-08.4(1), (3)
2 N.D.C.C. § 14-09-08.4(4)