Durham County is offering parents who are behind in their child-support payments and who face an arrest order a chance to stay out of jail.
The offer is for any non-custodial parent who was issued an order for arrest for child support before Aug. 31, 2017. The parent facing arrest must also bring $500 for each child support case he or she has in the county.
The Durham County Department of Social Services will hold the Child Support Amnesty Day on Wednesday, Dec., 13, at Durham County Courtroom 4C, at 501 S. Dillard St.
The $500 will eliminate the order for arrest, but it will not eliminate the money these parents owe in arrears, said Angela Bellamy, supervisor of Durham County’s Child Support Enforcement division.
The county tries to hold amnesty days at least twice every year.
“What we’re trying to do is give them a fresh start,” Bellamy said. Past amnesty days have brought in non-compliant parents who wanted to remove their arrest order. The amnesty frees the Sheriff’s Office from trying to enforce the order, and takes the tension of the order away from the non-custodial parent, Bellamy said.
An estimated 700 non-custodial parents in Durham County have orders for arrest for child support, Bellamy said. There are more than that number who are behind in their support payments, she said. The county has about 10,400 non-custodial parents who are under court orders to pay child support, Bellamy said.
In North Carolina, 274,632 non-custodial parents are currently under a child support order, according to numbers from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Those numbers could represent medical support (or insurance only) and not require a monetary payment, said Kelly Haight, press assistant in the department’s office of communications.
In 2016, North Carolina had $663.2 million in collections for child support, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. That same year, the state established 30,075 child support orders, statistics show.
Under North Carolina law, the courts set the dollar amount of child-support payments, taking into account the income of the custodial and non-custodial parent, and the needs of the child. A non-custodial parent can voluntarily agree to pay the amount, or court action may be taken, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Support Enforcement Division.
For parents who do not comply with payments, the state may withhold the amount from a non-custodial parent’s paycheck, or withhold money from Social Security and other benefits. The courts also may intercept state and federal tax refunds, and take legal action against non-custodial parents who do not comply with a court order. Other remedies also are available.
How to apply for child support services
▪ Apply online at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/child-support-enforcement
▪ In Durham, visit the Durham County Human Services Building, 414 E. Main St., Child Support Services (Lobby 11), Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
▪ In Orange County, call 919-245-2175, or visit the county’s social services office at 131 W. Margaret Lane, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where to show up for child support amnesty
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Durham County Courtroom 4C, 510 S. Dillard St.
NOTE: All people seeking the amnesty should bring $500 for each Durham County child support case