Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Can I Report My Father for Not Paying Child Support?

Divorce is hard on families – especially when there are kids involved. One child may identify with one parent and become protected over them. Others will want to seek “justice” when they feel powerless to do so. In some cases, a child of divorced parents may feel let down by one or both parents, especially when one is not adhering to the law or the divorce agreement. This often happens when one parent is unable or unwilling to pay court-ordered child support. When this happens, an experienced child custody lawyer can help.

Who Can Receive Child Support in New York?

New York law requires both parents to support their child financially until the child is emancipated. A child is emancipated once the child is 21 years of age or older. However, children who are under the age of 21 years may be emancipated if they are married, self-supporting, in the military, or they leave home and refuse to obey a parent’s reasonable demands.

Custodial parents, the parent who has custody of the child when the parents live separately, may file a petition for child support. In addition, an unemancipated child who does not live with his or her parents may file a petition for child support payments that will be paid to the child. In some cases, the Department of Social Services may petition for child support when the child is living in foster care.

Who Reports Non-Payment of Child Support?

Child support payments are intended to benefit the child. You cannot waive child support, nor can child support payments be discharged because of unemployment or bankruptcy. The payee (the person receiving child support payments) must be the person to report non-payment of payments. Therefore, if a parent is the payee, the parent must report non-payment.

A child would report non-payment of child support if the child is the payee. Otherwise, the parent receiving child support should report non-payment because the payee must be the person to certify that payment has not been received as ordered by the court.

Enforcement of a Child Support Order

If the other parent is not paying court-ordered child support payments, you have several options for enforcing a New York child support order. Your first option is to report non-payment of child support to the Support Collection Unit (SCU) and the Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU). These services use administrative actions to enforce child support obligations, including wage garnishment, income tax refund offsets, property executions, driver’s license suspension (for arrears over $2,500), and other measures.

However, if child support arrearage exceeds $500, you also have the right to file enforcement proceedings with the court. If you desire, our New York family lawyer can help you with a court filing to seek child support arrearage.

A court action can give you more leverage to collect past due child support payments because the court can do more than the enforcement units. In an enforcement action, a judge may:

  • Issue a monetary judgment against the non-payment parent;

  • Sentence the non-paying parent to a jail term of up to six months for contempt of court;

  • Garnish the unemployment benefits of a non-paying parent;

  • Order an unemployed non-paying parent to attend a jobs program; and,

  • Order the non-paying parent to pay your attorney’s fees and court costs associated with the enforcement action.

New York Child Support Enforcement Attorneys

When a parent fails to pay child support obligations, it can cause extreme financial hardships for the custodial parent and the child. Our NY child support enforcement lawyers focus on practical solutions to recover arrearage; however, we are fully prepared to use all measures available under the law to bring non-paying parents to justice. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your options.

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