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Collecting unpaid child support in New York

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2021 | Family Law |

Noncustodial parents in New York are expected to support their children financially or face sanctions like a suspended driver’s license to jail time if they fail to meet this responsibility. When a financial setback makes paying child support difficult or impossible, noncustodial parents should take proactive measures to figure out a new plan.

State officials and judges understand the challenges that people face, but they have little sympathy for those who flout the rules.

Administrative enforcement

The New York State Office of Child Support Enforcement can take administrative action to collect delinquent child support without court approval. When state officials decide what kind of action is appropriate, they consider both the amount of unpaid child support and the length of time that the delinquent balance has been accruing. However, the agency notifies the noncustodial parent about the money they owe and the consequences of not paying before it takes any action.

Collection methods

The NYDCSE can collect unpaid child support in several ways, and it is not uncommon for the agency to use several of these options at once. Such options include but are not limited to:

  • Arranging for past due child support to be deducted from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck
  • Deducting the delinquent balance from unemployment benefits
  • Informing the major credit reporting agencies about the delinquent balance
  • Intercepting lottery winnings and income tax refunds
  • Denying the noncustodial parent a passport or driver’s license
  • Suspending the noncustodial parent’s driving privileges
  • Seizing assets including the contents of checking and savings accounts
  • Denying or revoking business or professional licenses

Judicial enforcement

Custodial parents may choose to pursue civil remedies and ask attorneys to advocate on their behalf in court when administrative enforcement options fail to collect all of the money owed. Judges have more authority than state officials, and they can garnish a noncustodial parent’s paycheck or place liens on their assets. If noncustodial parents ignore notices to appear in court or judges believe they are acting maliciously, they can face criminal charges and up to six months in jail.