A Parent Fails to Pay Child Support in New York
When a parent fails to pay child support, there may be a reason for it. Child support can be used for important areas of the best interests of the child such as:
- Costs to maintain the home (e.g., paying utilities)
- Public school education expenses
- Entertainment for the child
Response to a Failure to Pay Child Support
How to respond depends on the circumstances of each individual case. Much of it has to do with whether or not a child support order was ever filed.
Child Support Order
Sometimes, parents come to an agreement about child support. The non-custodial parent will agree to pay a certain amount each month. They may come to this agreement without the involvement of the courts, and so a court order is never issued. Or a parent may have been voluntarily paying money towards children but now stopped or reduced the payments. A parent can go to court to file for child support in this situation and even use the amount of money the parent was voluntarily paying to argue this same amount or more should now be put into a court order to be paid.
Court Order Issued No
Parents who do have a child support court order which is not being complied with as non-child support payments have stopped or the child support is being paid at less than what the order stated, may go to court due to the violation of the court order. Depending on the circumstances, an order for the arrears plus an increased amount may be requested. An increased amount may be requested if the expenses of the child has gone up or the income or wealth of the other parent has increased. This request may not be granted. If the lack of child support is due to the parent having a reduced income or finances, that parent could at this same hearing request that they pay less child support. Although any areas may not be reduced and may still be ordered as owed by the court.
Child Support Enforcement Requests
In New York, a parent can request that the court issue an order that child support automatically is taken out of the wages of the other parent. If there are arrears a parent can request that the money be paid back on top of the future child support. If there is evidence of the ability to pay the arrears in a lump sum, this can also be requested as part of the court order.
If the non-paying parent lives in another state, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, a federal law, allows the custodial parent to collect child support across state lines. Child support orders are enforceable by the state where the order was originally issued––this is known as continuing jurisdiction. In fact, even if the custodial parent moves with the child outside the state where the original child support order was issued, the same state has jurisdiction. Likewise, if the non-paying parent needs to modify child support, the laws of the original state will apply.
Possible Consequences for Failure to Pay Child Support in New York
- Garnishing wages
- Intercepting unemployment insurance
- Intercepting tax return
- Suspending driver's license
- Suspending a professional license
- Placing a lien on the home or other property
- Freezing bank accounts
- Filing a civil contempt order, which could result in jail time or a diversion program
Visitation and Failure to Pay Child Support
In New York, the right of a parent to see and spend time with children should not be preveneted by the custodial parent just because of a failure to pay and comply with a child support order. Visitation rights are generally separate from the duty to pay child support. Keeping a child from the non-paying parent for this reason can create serious legal problems for the parent who the child resides with.
Contact a Child Support Lawyer in New York
At The Law Office of Leah T. Wills PLLC, we assist parents who are owed arrears of child support or those parents who have failed to pay child support. Contact us for an initial free consultation at 1 888-524-9776.