Can I sue the courts or CSEA for negligence?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

Several years ago I got a notice from Child Support Enforcement that my monthly support payments were going to be reduced. Ten years later I was informed that this reduction did not take place and I owe thousands of dollars in back child support.

I went to court to find out why the reduction was not entered and neither the courts nor the Child Support Enforcement department had an answer.

Can I sue them for negligence since their error is costing me thousands of dollars?


Suing the state or one of its agencies may not be your best course of action. Most states and state agencies have sovereign immunity.

Sovereign immunity prevents the states or federal government from being sued, unless they give permission to be sued (such as in the case of an intentional wrongful act committed by a state employee). You may not be able to sue the State of North Carolina or the Child Support Enforcement department for negligence.

A simpler course of action may to be to request a hearing with the judge regarding your arrearages. If you can produce a copy of the notice you were provided that your support was to be reduced, they may be able to retroactively reduce your support or waive your arrearages because you reasonably relied upon the information they gave you.

If you no longer have a copy of that notice, you should request a copy of your entire child support file from the Child Support Enforcement department.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in your jurisdiction to further discuss the specifics of your situation. Cordell & Cordell does represent men in divorce nationwide. Thank you for submitting your question.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

End of Content Icon

Leave a Reply

18 Comments on "Can I sue the courts or CSEA for negligence?"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest
3 months 16 days ago

this should be changed cause in the constitutition we have the right to travel we are NOT crimnals i want to sue the federal government to make them stop this or even abolish childsupport cause it us a unfair system What repurcusions does the other parent have they dont jail if they dosomething wrong this should be fixed there are many woman just getting pregnant in order tocolledt child supportand NOTwork if you are on disability you shouldnt be getting childsupport or if you are NOT working

4 months 20 days ago
In North Carolina you can most certainly sue a child support enforcement agency. They have no immunity because they are CORPORATIONS (in connection with the county). And once a County or State incorporates it loses sovereign immunity; (Clearfield Trust Company V. U.S., 318 US 363). They aren’t an “AGENCY” nor do they fall under the Executive branch of government to “ENFORCE” anything. They are a unit of local government or private entity that solely depends on your ignorance to trick you into contracting with them and hoping you don’t catch it before the statute of limitations are up (N.C.G.S. 1-53(1)).… Read more »
1 month 25 days ago

How about California?

7 months 17 hours ago

I also realize this is a Fathers forum . I’m just a mother trying to do the right thing . I haven’t received any answers that seem fair to him ( my Ex ) or my child . I will never saddle him supporting a child that’s not his , but would love some help in this situation

7 months 17 hours ago

I also want to mention because NC has saw fit to declare him her father . Her biological father only gives support whenever he feels like it .

7 months 17 hours ago
I need help. I was married legally 22 yrs . We separated after 6 yrs . I was left to raise our two children while he went about his life . I only received 300 a month in support for them . Fast forward to 2002 he had another child with a woman in NH where he has been since our separation . in 2014 I had a child and though we hv been separated all this time NC has declared him my child’s father . I also want to mention my Ex has been incarcerated since 2005 so this… Read more »
William pearl
7 months 6 days ago

I’m done dealing with child support the past 16 years I’ve paid them $5,000 cash it turned around and took my license I can’t get them back they want $1,200 for me to get my license back and I’m self-employed I just want somebody to help me because then I offer them money to get my license back and it won’t take it they said they want $1,200 and I’m self-employed so how much supposed to make it in this world

Larry Rock
7 months 17 days ago
What The government has done to the Non-Custodial parent in America is Criminal They do it for their own benefit – Money- The Billions of dollars that sit in the Child Support account even if its only for a short time reaps the government Millions in interest The government is not interested in fairness or the family . As a matter of fact they are the destroyer of families . They certainly do not care how badly they badly they destroy the life of the Non-Custodial Parent . They will do what ever they can to destroy the NCP. We… Read more »
9 months 26 days ago
The ky child support office and the family court division judge made a big mistake on my case. I never once was late on my child support. I’m now on s.s.d. and both my boys get a s.s. check. Child support has me paying $350 a month on top of s.s. checks for $300 each to my boys to my ex. My ex told child support that she do receive s.s. check to my boys on my behalf. Child support froze my bank account. I gave child support everything. Child support don’t know what to do. I asked for copies… Read more »
1 year 1 month ago
Hello i was just wondering in the state of ca can i sue child support? The reason why i ask is because they are negligent to my case as for my child support mediator living right next door to my ex and being very close to his family. I have not seen a dime of child support in three years at first we were trying to get along and try to not involve child support the mediators idea of course she made it seem like she was there to help the both of us as time went on i started… Read more »
Patricia Diane Johnson
1 year 9 months ago
I live in TN, me &my husband moved & divorced here from NY, TN modified a NY order but did not do it correctly(did not register w/NY orNC-where he currently lives), so when he lost his job as a truck driver (paying $891.00?mth ch supp), he started receiving unemployment insurance. NC child support office would not accept TN stating that order was not properly filed nor prepared by TN office (TN office send order directly to employer and ignored the NC office); My children have not received court ordered child support over the past 4 years because of this. I… Read more »
Terry Shubitowski
8 months 2 days ago
That is the state of Tennessee for you! I have had custody of my 2 kids (now 15 and 17), since 2003. The mother was ordered to pay $35.00 a week in child support. Now (2016), she has managed to get herself almost $19,000 behind. My case worker wont do anything for me, and hasn’t since day 1. She even made the comment to me, that she don’t believe the father should have custody of the children. Back in 2009, I called everyday, and left a message, for 3 months straight. Only to get no response. I finally called the… Read more »