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North Dakota Child Support Guidelines

North Dakota (like all states) requires noncustodial parents to pay child support to the custodial parent when a couple gets divorced or otherwise doesn't live together. The noncustodial parent who pays support is referred to as the "obligor" and the custodial parent receiving support is the "obligee." State laws and regulations establish what are called child support guidelines, which are rules used for determining how much support an obligor must pay.

Child support calculations can get quite complicated, depending on each family's needs, income, and other factors. For example, an obligor with a net monthly income of $2,000 will pay $431 to support one child and $562 for two children per North Dakota's guidelines (as of 2018).

When situations change, such as a significant change in income, disability, or job loss, either parent may petition the court for a modification of the child support amount.

North Dakota Child Support Guidelines: The Basics

North Dakota's Administrative Code outlines how courts calculate an obligor's child support obligation, which is based on a percentage of the obligor's income. This language can be quite complicated for a non-attorney to understand, which is why we've provided the following "plain English" summary of these guidelines below.


North Dakota Administrative Code: Chapter 75-02-04.1

Calculation of Obligor's Net Income


First, the obligor's gross income must be determined:

  • This is income from all sources, including salary, bonuses, commissions, pensions, severance pay, royalties, dividends, etc.
  • An unemployed obligor's gross income may include unemployment insurance, veteran's benefits, Social Security payments, etc.
  • Obligors who are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed may have to pay support based on "imputed income" as determined by the court.

Net income is gross income minus the following:

  • Taxes;
  • The child's health care premiums;
  • Additional costs for medical care that's not covered by insurance;
  • Union dues; and
  • Retirement contributions.

Note: These are the main categories; there may be additional types of income and expenses that are exempt from gross income.

Determination of Support Amount

General instructions for determining the amount of support:

  1. Calculations assume that one parent is the primary caregiver and the other (noncustodial) parent contributes payment for the child's care.
  2. Calculations assume that time spent with the noncustodial parent (obligor) doesn't substitute a child support obligation.
  3. Net income received by obligor from all sources must be considered when calculating support amount.
  4. Amounts greater than 50 cents are rounded up to the nearest dollar; amounts less than 50 cents are rounded down.
  5. Obligor's monthly net income amount ending in $50 or more must be rounded up to the nearest $100 increment; amounts less than $50 are rounded down.
  6. Annual total of all income considered when determining child support amount must be divided by 12 to determine monthly net income.
  7. Income must be documented through the use of tax returns, wage statements, and other such statements.
  8. Calculations are generally based on recent past circumstances as an indicator of future circumstances (although consideration will be made for circumstances that are likely to change in the future).
  9. Determining child support is appropriate in any situation where the child and both parents don't reside together.
  10. Each child support order must include a statement of the obligor's net income and how that income is determined; any order including an adjustment for extended parenting time must specify the number of parenting nights.
  11. Payment of children's benefits made to (or on behalf of) a child who isn't living with the obligor must be credited as a payment toward the obligor's support obligation.
  12. No amount may be deducted to determine net income unless that amount is included in gross income.

Valid Reasons for Deviating From Support Guidelines

In order to deviate from North Dakota's child support guidelines (either higher or lower), a parent must prove through a preponderance of the evidence that it is in the child's best interest and one or more of the following:

  • Obligee is seeking support for more than 6 children.
  • Non-custodial parent's monthly income exceeds $25,000.
  • Increased need for educational costs (i.e. private schooling) with written consent of obligor.
  • Increased needs of a child with a chronic illness or disabling condition.
  • Increased needs of children for the cost of child care (if for valid reasons, such as employment).
  • Increased or decreased ability of obligor to pay support (if decreased, then it must be for reasons generally out of their control, such as a layoff).

Note: See the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (below) for a complete list.

Child Support Forms and Worksheets

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

North Dakota Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

A Lawyer Can Help You Navigate North Dakota's Child Support Guidelines

Child support payments are determined in part by state guidelines, which establish amounts based on parents' income and other factors. A legal professional can help you get what your child deserves, whether it involves establishing paternity or finding hidden sources of income. Get started by contacting an experienced North Dakota child support attorney today.

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