After a divorce is finalized, depending on the order, child support obligations can end up continuing for a number of years. During this time, the parents making the payments may find that their financial circumstances change, and rather than address the issue in court through an agreement modification, they may end up failing to make their child support payments. Even the most understanding custodial parent can get frustrated as a result, since they depend on these payments to meet everyday expenses. What are the enforcement actions available in New York to enforce a child support order?
Before any type of action begins, a notice is sent to the non-custodial parent explaining the procedure and providing a deadline for compliance or challenging the action, and the consequences of failing to comply. After this, enforcement action begins and can even be taken simultaneously, depending on how long the payments have been delinquent for and how much back payment has accrued.
Administrative actions are those taken without the interference of the court and include temporarily increasing the amount of payment, offsetting the tax refund and suspending driver's licenses. Once the administrative actions are exhausted, a petition can be filed in family court, asking them to enforce the child support order. Outcomes of the petition can include a money judgment, placement of a lien on the non-custodial parent's property and arrest and incarceration of the parent who fails to appear before the court for a violation hearing or seriously falls behind in their payments.
Child support plays an important role in raising a child and both parents should take the obligation seriously. If a change in circumstances can prevent someone from making their payments timely or if someone is struggling to get their former spouse to meet their obligation, they may want to consider consulting an experienced attorney.