Tribal Child Support Code
 Child Support Warrant List
 Frequently Asked Questions
 Frequently Asked Questions
  FAQ's in PDF click here.
  How do I contact the Child Support Program?
  The Three Affiliated Tribes – Division of Child Support Enforcement (TAT DCSE) is located in New Town, North Dakota on   the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The address of the office is at 611 Main Street on the East end of New Town, across   from the Cenex General Store. The mailing address is PO Box 998, New Town, North Dakota, 58763; Telephone: (701)   627-2860, Fax: (701) 627-3963, e-mail childsupport@mhanation.com    
  What is Child Support?
  Child Support consists of monthly payments made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child which is paid directly or   indirectly by an obligor (non-custodial parent) to an obligee (a custodial parent, a caregiver, a guardian) for the care and   support of children. Typically one has the same duty to pay child support irrespective of sex, so an obligor mother is   required to pay support to an obligee father just as an obligor father must pay an obligee mother. Where there is joint   physical custody, the child is considered to have two custodial parents and no non-custodial parents, and a custodial   parent with a higher income (obligor) may be required to pay the other custodial parent (obligee).
  See Chapter 5-25-2 for Definition under Tribal Code: "Child support" means payments for the support of children, including payments for health insurance   coverage or other medical support, however denominated, if the payment is required by the order of a court or other governmental agency having authority to   issue such orders.
  How do I apply for Child Support?
  The Three Affiliated Tribes Division of Child Support Enforcement (TAT DCSE) helps get child support and medical   support for dependent children. To receive child support services, you will need to complete an application. The   application can be completed at the Child Support office, located 691 Main St. in New Town, North Dakota, (recommended   method) or you may request that an application be mailed or e-mailed to you.
  Are there any other costs?
  There are no costs currently charged by TAT DCSE for their services.
  Who can get help?
  Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish a child support or medical support order or to   collect support payments can apply for child support enforcement services. People who have received assistance under   the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and Federally assisted Foster Care programs are   automatically referred for child support enforcement services. Either parent can get help to have a child support order   reviewed at least every three years, or whenever there is a substantial change of circumstances, to ensure that the
  order remains fair.
  What information do I need?
  TAT DCSE will need to verify certain information to process your child support application, including, verification of
  Social security numbers, copies of birth certificates, verification of your address, tribal enrollment, receive copies of
  any court orders, and any proof of prior child support payments.
  Where are child support cases handled?
  Child support cases are typically handled through the child support docket at the Fort Berthold District Court. Sessions   are generally held each Tuesday at the Courtroom located at the Gerald Fox Justice Center in New Town, North Dakota.   An Associate Tribal Judge presides over the Court sessions and has the same power as a district court Judge to enter   appropriate orders of support.
  What if my child is on public assistance?
  If you are a custodial parent whose child(ren) are on TANF or Medical Assistance you were probably required to sign   over your rights to collect child support to the North Dakota Department of Social Services, the agency in that   administers public assistance. They may bring an action for support on your behalf, and if they succeed, and the
  non-custodial parent begins making payments, the funds collected will go first to repay your TANF award, any additional   funds will come to you. If you no longer desire TANF funds, the entire child support award will go to you.
  How does a child support obligation get established?
  The Fort Berthold District Court has jurisdiction in proceeding to establish, enforce, or modify a support order or to   determine parentage, the Fort Berthold District Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over enrolled tribal members   and certain non-resident individuals under certain circumstances.
  How to estimate the amount of child support the court will order in your case.
  It is not difficult to estimate how much the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay, if the parent works "on the books"   (legitimate employment vs. paid under the table-such as receiving cash instead of receiving an employers check) and   you know roughly how much money he or she makes. (If the parent does not work on the books, it is more difficult to   predict how much he or she will be ordered to pay. TAT DCSE can make an initial determination of how much money the   parent is to pay. The estimate may change at Court as it is an estimate only, and is dependent on many factors.
  What if the non-custodial parent doesn't come to court?
  As long as the non-custodial parent has been served, the court can enter a child support order. If you have the non-
  custodial parent's financial information, the order can be entered based on that. If you do not have their information, the   order will be based on the imputed income of the non-custodial parent.
  How much will the non-custodial parent be ordered to pay?
  The amount owed is calculated according to the Tribal Child Support guidelines, non-custodial parents will be ordered to   pay a percentage of their gross income, minus certain deductions, until the child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from   high school, whichever occurs first. Common deductions are for IRS federal taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes   that they pay. The non-custodial parents may also be ordered to cover the children on their health insurance plans, if one   is available to them through their employment.  The non-custodial parent must also pay a share of the child's   unreimbursed health care expenses. Unreimbursed means not covered by insurance. For example, under many   insurance plans, you have to make a co-payment when your child visits the doctor; the non-custodial parent can be   ordered to pay for a share of that expense.
   Are the earnings of both parents considered in setting support awards?
  Some states base their guidelines on both parents' incomes (an income-share model), Under Tribal laws the AT DCSE   uses only on the income of the noncustodial parent as it is presumed that the custodial parent is contributing towards
  the child(ren)’s needs by providing care, food, clothing, and shelter.
  When does the obligation to pay begin?
  Usually, the obligation to pay child support starts the first day of the following month after the non-custodial parent   receives legal paperwork seeking child support.
  I am the non-custodial parent. I have been sued for child support. What should I do?
  If you are served with a summons seeking child support, you need to prepare for court and attend the court date. If you   believe that you were not properly served (an explanation of the rules regarding serving child support papers you should   still go to court on the date given in the papers. If you are not sure whether you are the child's father, you can contest   paternity in certain situations by asking for DNA testing. Paternity testing may not be requested if you signed a hospital   acknowledgment of paternity, unless you meet certain exceptions. You may have received a Financial Disclosure   Affidavit in the materials with which you were served. You should fill it out as best you can and sign it.  In addition to the   Financial Disclosure Affidavit, You should also bring copies of your most recent tax return, Form W2, Form 1099, and/or   schedules, and your most recent pay stubs and any other pay stubs you believe will help.
  What if one of the parents has re-married?
  Re-marriage almost never affects the amount of child support owed. The Child Support Judge will not consider the
  income of the non-custodial parent's spouse when calculating the amount of child support the non-custodial parent has
  to pay according to the child support guidelines.
  What if one of the parents has other children?
  If the non-custodial parent is already paying child support pursuant to a court order or written agreement, the amount of   support paid will be considered in the guideline calculations from his or her gross income before it is finalized.
  What will happen at court?
  The Child Support Judge will decide your case. You should be on time for court and wait until your case is called.  The judge will likely review some of the documentation you have brought and will ask questions of both sides. If there is something you want to say you should politely say it because you may not get another chance.
  Will I get a lawyer to help me?
  Even if you are without financial resources, you are not entitled to the services of a free lawyer to help you with a child   support case. However you may seek legal representation at your own expense and may be given a brief continuance to   allow you time to obtain the services you need.
  I am the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is preventing me from visiting with my children. Do I still have to pay
  court-ordered child support??
  Visitation and child support are treated separately by the Court. Regardless of the situation with visitation, the non-
  custodial parent must continue to pay court-ordered child support. Likewise, regardless of the situation with child
  support, the custodial parent must continue to comply with a court-ordered visitation schedule.
  I am the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent has stopped paying child support. Do I have to let him/her visit with
  our children?
  Visitation and child support are treated separately by the Court. Regardless of the situation with visitation, the non-
  custodial parent must continue to pay court-ordered child support. Likewise, regardless of the situation with child
  support, the custodial parent must continue to comply with a court-ordered visitation schedule.
  My ex-husband is not a Native American, but he works on a reservation. Will his employer withhold income from his
  check to make the child support payment?
  The Three Affiliated Tribes operates a IV-D CSE program; your caseworker should send the income withholding order to   our tribal IV-D agency. Then TAT DCSE will present the income withholding order to the tribal enterprise for processing   and income withholding.
  What if the non-custodial parent does not make payments?
  If you are having trouble collecting child support, you can contact the TAT DCSE. They may be able to help you find the   non-custodial parent, arrange for the child support payments to be taken directly out of their paycheck, (d) seize tax   refunds and lottery winnings, and bring them back to Court to show just cause for failure to pay. The TAT DCSE keeps a   record of your case and all payments made. Finally, when an order is made payable through TAT DCSE they
  automatically review the payment history, and can take steps to enforce the order, up to and including ordering the non-
  custodial parent jailed. The Judge not likely to order that the non-custodial parent be jailed unless that parent fails to   appear in court or the non-payment of support has been going on for a long time.
 The children's father works irregularly and is paid in cash. Income withholding won't work for me. What will?
  Telephone reminders, and delinquency notices from TAT DCSE office might convince him or her to make regular   payments. Other techniques, such as property attachment, credit bureau reporting, tax refund offset, and liens might   work for the arrearages. States can suspend or revoke drivers, professional, occupational, and recreational licenses if
  an arrearage develops. If none of these is successful, TAT DCSE can take the case to court for stronger enforcement   methods.
  The father of my child is in jail. Can I get support?
  Past-due support may accumulate while the father is in jail. But unless he has assets, such as property, bank accounts,   or any income such as wages from a work-release program, it is unlikely that support can be collected while he is in jail.   You might write to the warden of the prison and ask if any provision is made for a prisoner to provide support for his   children. Generally the arrearages build up and payments are deferred but not forgiven until he is released and working.
  My child’s father told me weeks ago that his tax refund was taken for child support. When will I get the money?
  It usually takes three to five weeks from the time the money is offset from the obligor's tax refund until the state
  receives it. The Department of the Treasury has encouraged states to hold collections from joint tax returns for up to six   months in case the obligor’s spouse who does not owe child support files for his or her share of the refund. The Office of   Child Support Enforcement and Treasury Department will be working together to provide information to the states if the   spouse has filed a claim for his or her part of the refund and has received the money.
  Can Federal income tax refunds be offset the same way?
  Yes, states can request an offset of Federal income tax refunds for past-due support of over $500 owed on behalf of   minor children not receiving cash assistance as well as over $150 owed to states that have provided assistance. The
  TAT DCSE works closely with the State of North Dakota to put in place a Federal tax offset. However funds must go first
  to repay the state and Federal governments for assistance provided before they are distributed to families who are owed   past-due support. Congress has been considering a proposal for distributing collections to pay family arrearages before   money owed the government is paid.
  My child's father says that since he gives gifts and money he does not have to pay child support.
  An order for support specifies how support is to be paid and gifts or payments made outside the order are generally not   considered a credit against the ordered child support amount. If he is not paying as ordered, check with TAT DCSE about   enforcing the order. If you do not have a support order, you can talk our staff about establishing one.
  Can I get the child support order changed?
  A child support order can be changed if there is a significant change in circumstances. Such a change is called a   "modification."   If you are a custodial parent and you think that the non-custodial parent is making significantly more   money than they were they were when you got the order, or if caring for your children has become significantly more   expensive or if you are a non-custodial parent and you are making significantly less money, you may be able, depending   on issuing date of the original order and file for a modification of the order.
  If you are a non-custodial parent and you lose your job or start making less money the order will stay the same until you
  get a new modified order.
  You must continue to pay under the old order until you get a new order of support. There are certain rules within the child   support guidelines to apply your average wages over certain periods of time, tw0 or three years to determine your   earning capacity, as taking a lower paying job will not automatically reduce your child support obligation.
  What Can Child Support Payments Be Used For?
  Generally, child support payments are used to fund child-related expenses, including food, housing, transportation,   medical care, education and extra-curricular activities, and college savings. However, parents who receive child support   payments on behalf of their children are not obligated to keep a record of how they use the child support money they   receive.
  I pay child support every month. I buy extras like school clothes and pay for field trips. Why can’t I claim my child as a
  Under domestic relations tax provisions set forth by the Internal Revenue Code, for divorced or separated parents, the   parent who has custody for a greater portion of the calendar year is entitled to the dependency exemption for the child   (See 26 U.S.C. 152(e). In some cases, a court or administrator will address the issue of who can claim the dependency.   Also, the parent with custody can provide the other parent with a written statement that he/she may take the exemption   for a given year. The noncustodial parent can then attach the statement to the income tax form, using IRS Form 8332, and   claim the child(ren) as dependents for a given tax year.
  My current spouse is working and when we filed our taxes, the whole refund was taken.
  If a couple filed a joint return and only one of them is liable for child support payments, in non-community property states   the other spouse can file an amended return to receive his or her share of the tax refund. The person who is not   responsible for the child support debt can file tax Form 8379, the Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation.
  My ex-husband owes me back child support and he gets oil and gas income through the BIA, can anything be done?
  The Code of Federal Regulation allows for the encumbrance of an individual’s BIA IIM account based upon unpaid child   support. The TAT DCSE can assist you in getting an Order from the Court to encumber the account. The BIA has a   process under 25 CFR that they follow, which may allow payments to you from IIM income, including oil and gas revenues.
  I failed to come to Court and I have a Warrant, what should I do?
  You may clear up the warrant against you by doing taking two steps. The first step is to pay a single months child support   payment. You must also sign a promise to come to Court at a later date to discuss you plans with the Court to begin   paying your regular child support. If you come to court you will not be sent to jail for failure to pay.
  I heard my child’s father made a payment, how does the payment get to me?
  The TAT DCSE office processes all child support payments. The monies are receipted in and then paid out in no later
  than two business days. If your case was referred to our office from the State of North Dakota the payment is sent to the   state, and they will send you your payment. If the source of payment is from an obligor’s employer, TAT DCSE usually   does not receive the funds on the date pay checks are issued, and can often not get to our office until a week later.
  What are the benefits of establishing paternity?
  In addition to providing a basis for child support, paternity establishment can provide basic emotional, social, and   economic ties between a father and his child. There are strong indications that children whose fathers take active roles
  in their upbringing lead more successful lives. Once paternity is established legally, a child gains legal rights and   privileges. Among these may be rights to inheritance, rights to the father's medical and life insurance benefits, and rights   to social security and possibly veterans' benefits. The child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father,   and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the "other half" of his or her family. It can be important for the health   of the child for doctors to have knowledge of the father's medical history.
  I do not want to pay child support; can I terminate my parental rights?
  Generally the court will not allow you to terminate your parental rights unless another person is attempting to assume   your parental role in the life of your child, such as step-parent adoption. You have a legal duty under tribal law to support   your child and that duty is taken very serious by TAT DCSE and the court.
  I have heard that the child is not mine; can I get DNA tests to prove this?
  There is recognized under the law to be two types of father, natural fathers and legal fathers. If you signed an   acknowledgment of paternity, you are agreeing to be the legal father of that child. In accordance with the duties of a legal   father, you will be required to pay child support for that child, even if DNA testing is shown that you are not the natural   father of the child. TAT DCSE does not help pay for DNA for fathers that have already signed acknowledgments of   paternity.