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What Happens When Child Support is Not Paid in New York?

Posted on November 12, 2019

Unfortunately, relationships do not always work out. When a couple decides to end their relationship, complications may arise – especially when there are children involved. However, whether a child’s parents get along or not, both parents are expected to support the child in New York. In this article, we will review what happens when a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support.

What is child support?

Child support is predicated on the idea that a child’s lifestyle should be maintained after the divorce of their parents. While this is not always possible, child support payments help lessen the financial burden placed on the parent who is primarily responsible for providing shelter, food, clothing, and more to their child.

A child support order is a legally binding document that dictates the amount of money to be paid to the custodial parent or guardian on a scheduled basis. Child support is not limited to divorced couples. Indeed, any non-custodial parent, whether they were previously married to the custodial parent, can be ordered to pay child support.

What happens if someone fails to pay child support?

A person who is delinquent in child support payments is considered to be in “arrears,” and can be taken to New York Family Court. Failing to pay child support is considered a federal offense, and someone who fails to pay child support in a full and timely manner is subject to several punitive measures.

According to the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district and state attorneys are authorized to collect back child support payments on behalf of custodial parents. A New York state judge can use the following measures against a delinquent non-custodial parent:

      • Garnishing wages: New York State will contact your employer to take payment out of your paycheck.
      • Suspending driver’s license: A parent who fails to pay child support may not be able to renew their license until their debt is paid
      • Confiscating tax refund: New York State may redistribute a tax refund to the custodial parent.
      • Confiscating lottery winnings: Similarly, the state may use any lottery winnings to pay off child support debt
      • Contacting credit agencies: The state may decide to notify the major credit agencies about outstanding child support debt, thus lowering the delinquent parent’s credit score

In some cases, a judge may rule in favor of jail time for a parent who is consistently and willfully failing to pay child support to a custodial parent. Jail time is the most serious consequence for failing to pay child support in New York and is generally considered a deterrent to missing payments.

Contact an experienced family law attorney to help you recover child support payments

The stress of raising a child on your own is difficult enough without having to worry about whether your co-parent will be delivering a child support payment on time. At the Law Office of Vivian I. Stark, P.C. Our NYC child support attorney has more than 30 years of experience in New York family law and can help you understand your options for securing back child support payments. Call us today at (212) 349-1600 or contact us online to learn more about our matrimonial and family law services.