Gaston County


Department of Social Services - Child Support

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Child Support program?
    The child support program can help locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity for children born outside of marriage, establish child support obligations, collect and distribute child support payments and enforce support obligations.

  2. Where do I apply for Child Support Services?
    Residents of Gaston County may apply at Gaston County Human Services building, 330 N. Marietta St., Gastonia, N.C. 28052, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  3. Do I have to receive Work First cash assistance in order to receive child support services?
    Child Support Services are available to anyone who has physical custody of a minor dependent child in need of child support, regardless of income.

  4. Is there a cost to apply for Child Support Services?
    Depending on the applicant's income, there is either a $10.00 or $25.00 application fee for these services. There is no fee if the custodial parent receives public assistance or Medicaid.

  5. What is a child support order?
    The court must issue a support order before a non-custodial parent can be made to pay child support. The Child Support Agency will first attempt to negotiate with the non-custodial parent to obtain a court order, which is called a Voluntary Support Agreement. A court appearance is not required for this action. If the non-custodial parent does not voluntarily provide support, a civil court action must be initiated to obtain a support order.

  6. How is the amount determined?
    Child Support is based on the N.C. Child Support Guidelines.

  7. Why is establishing paternity important?
    Paternity must be established before child support can be ordered.  If the alleged father is willing to acknowledge paternity, then paternity can be established without going to court. If the alleged father denies paternity, then paternity tests can be used as evidence to determine whether the alleged father is in fact the biological father. Minor children are sometimes entitled to certain benefits in their father's name, such as Social Security Benefits, Veteran's benefits, and inheritance proceeds. Paternity must be established
    before these benefits can be received. The child support program provides legal services to establish child support. Once paternity has been established, these children have all the legal rights of children born of the marriage.

  8. What can I do to help my case?
    Your case will proceed faster if you can provide certified copies of all court orders for you child support and the non-custodial parent's payment history when you apply. Provide as much information as possible concerning the non-custodial parent including address, place of employment, Social Security number, date of birth and copies of birth certificates.

  9. How are non-custodial parents located?
    Child Support Enforcement Agency utilizes automated systems that interface with many other systems such as Employment Security Commission, Department of Motor vehicles, and Department of Corrections as well as other state and federal systems. The agency also relies on information provided by the custodial parent or
    caregiver of the minor children in locating the non-custodial parent.

  10. What if the non-custodial parent does not make payments as ordered by the court?
    The Child Support Agency is responsible for enforcing child support payments when the non-custodial parent does not make child support payments as ordered by the court. The support payments must be at least thirty (30) days in arrears before court action can be initiated. Once the non-custodial is 30 days in arrears, the agency will issue a motion and order to show cause for the non-custodial parent to appear in court before a judge and show cause why he or she should not be found in contempt for not paying their child support. Other remedies of enforcing the court order are through tax intercept, revocation of business license, income withholding, and financial levies.

  11. What if the non-custodial parent resides in another state?
    In cases where the custodial parent is a resident of North Carolina and the non-custodial parent resides in another state, the custodial parent can file action for establishing of paternity or of a support order through the local child support agency. This action is called the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This procedure is also utilized when the non-custodial parent resides in Gaston County and the custodial parent resides in another state.

  12. Where is child support payments made?
    Child support payments are mailed to North Carolina Child Support Centralized Collections at P.O. Box 900006, Raleigh, N.C. 27675. It is important to include your name, social security number, mpi number on your check or money order.

  13. Where do I call to make inquiries about my case?
    Child support customer service number is 1-800-992-9457. Customer Service will answer your questions. If there is something that the local agency needs to do, the customer service representative will contact your local agent, who will in turn get in touch with you.