Noncustodial Parent Info

What is an NCP?

A noncustodial parent (NCP) does not have physical custody of his or her child(ren). However, a noncustodial parent does have an important role in the child support process. When DCSS brings a legal action against the noncustodial parent for child support, he or she may discuss the matter with a DCSS representative. NCPs may contact DCSS by telephone or in person during normal business hours. Visit the contacts page for more information.

Remember, DCSS does not represent the noncustodial parent, custodial party, the child(ren) in the case, or any other individual. DCSS represents the public interest in all cases. Click here for more information about your legal relationship with the Department of Child Support Services. As the NCP, you have a right to be represented by a lawyer or private attorney.

A Child Support Judgment

A judgment by the court may be entered against the noncustodial parent unless he/she files paperwork with the clerk of the Superior Court within 30 days of when he/she was served with the summons and complaint papers (see the next topic). This will happen whether or not the noncustodial parent has a lawyer. If the noncustodial parent is served with a document stating the date of a court hearing, he/she should appear in court on the date shown. If the noncustodial parent does not show up, an order can still be entered.

If the noncustodial parent and DCSS are able to reach an agreement regarding the requests made in the papers served, the noncustodial parent may handle the matter by signing an agreement called a stipulation. By signing a stipulation, the noncustodial parent is agreeing that:

  1. He/she is the parent of the child(ren)
  2. He/she is obligated to pay the amount of child support and provide the health insurance stated in the stipulation 


State law requires that interest at the rate of 10% per annum be computed on unpaid child support.

Filing a Responsive Pleading

If the noncustodial parent files an answer (responsive pleading), he/she has a right to a court hearing. The noncustodial parent also has the right to have the court determine how much he/she will have to pay for support. If the noncustodial parent denies parentage of the child(ren), they have the right to request the court order parentage genetic tests to determine parentage. The court may order that the noncustodial parent pay none, some, or all the costs of the tests.

Wage Assignments and Deductions for Health Insurance

All orders for child support must include a wage and earnings assignment requiring the noncustodial parent's employer to deduct child support payments from the noncustodial parent's salary or wages. An order to deduct health insurance premiums for the child(ren) may also be ordered.

Modification of Child Support Orders

The noncustodial parent can request that DCSS review his/her case for modification. The amount of the child support order may be modified by increasing or decreasing the order or by requiring the noncustodial parent to provide health insurance for the child(ren). Based on financial and other information that both the custodial parent and noncustodial parent must provide, DCSS will determine if a modification for a higher or lower amount is justified. Both parents will be informed of DCSS's decision.

If the noncustodial parent is laid off, he/she should immediately notify DCSS. The noncustodial parent can request a review for modification of the support order. If the custodial parent allows the child(ren) to visit or live with the noncustodial parent on a long-term or permanent basis, the noncustodial parent should immediately take action to have his/her support order terminated or modified by the court in addition to contacting DCSS.  As long as there is a current support order requiring the noncustodial parent to pay support, he/she may be required to pay support even if the the child(ren) are living with him/her.

Failure to Pay Child Support

The noncustodial parent's duty to pay child support may be enforced by a contempt action, punishable by a jail sentence and/or a fine. NCPs should become familiar with the methods of enforcement used by the Department of Child Support Services.

For more information regarding the Noncustodial Parent's role in the child support program and other program information, visit and select "Noncustodial Parent".