Collecting Overdue Child Support

Child support can be an essential part of a divorce or custody arrangement, but sometimes obtaining the initial order for support is only half the battle. Even after a support order is issued, many parents fail to pay, miss payments or stop paying over time. Child support enforcement is key to ensuring your children benefit from the standard of living of both parents and have the financial support to pay for daily needs such as food and clothes, school, medical care and other costs.

In many situations, parents can enforce child support orders through administrative procedures without going to court. In an administrative proceeding, notice is sent to the parent who owes support explaining when payments are due and how to comply or challenge the enforcement action. In New York, child support enforcement services are provided by local Child Support Enforcement Units and Support Collection Units. These units provide a variety of services for collecting child support, including overdue support, by:

  • Locating parents who owe support
  • Collecting, tracking and disbursing child support
  • Collecting child support automatically through payroll deductions from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck
  • Collecting child support through other enforcement actions
  • Referring the case for collection to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

To request an enforcement action through the court, you must file a petition with the Family Court for willful nonpayment or violation of a child support order. After evidence is presented in a court hearing, a judge or support magistrate may enforce the order in a variety of ways including issuing a money judgment or sentencing the parent to jail for up to six months.

Enforcing an order in court may be the only solution against a parent who willfully fails to pay child support. A knowledgeable family law attorney in Westchester and Putnam counties can guide you through your enforcement and collection options to help obtain the financial support your child needs.

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