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What Happens When Child Support Goes Unpaid on Long Island?

by | May 7, 2019 | child custody and support, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, News and Events

If a Long Island court orders you to be paid child support, it must be paid on time and in full according to the order. If you are a recipient of child support and your support has gone unpaid or partially paid, this post will help you understand your rights under New York law and what your next step should be.

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Why Child Support Goes Unpaid

There are many circumstances that can lead to child support going unpaid. While there are a number of parents who purposefully do not pay the support they owe, others simply find themselves without the money. They may have lost their job or got demoted, or they may have gotten ill or injured and were unable to work while incurring hefty medical bills. A payer who has gotten behind on their child support may attempt to reason with the court by maintaining that they were legitimately unable to make the payments.

Does a ‘Good’ Reason Matter?

Like most other states, New York calculates child support owed based on the total monthly income of the payer. It’s important that the payer be able to make their child support payments and still have a livable income. However, when the circumstances shift from the original status quo and there’s a valid reason for child support going unpaid, does that reason matter in the eyes of the law?

It does, but only when the payer has formally requested a modification of support through the Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court. If the payer experiences an issue that prevents them from making their child support payments on time and in full, such as the loss of a job, the payer must immediately contact the court and inform them of the change. A hearing will then be set to determine if the child support order should indeed be modified.

If the payer does not notify the court and go through the formal child support modification process and does not pay their child support on time or in full, they can face penalties for doing so even if there was a valid reason for lack of payment.

How to Collect Unpaid Child Support

If you’re the recipient of child support that has gone unpaid, your local county Family Court can help enforce your support order in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Wage garnishment. New York courts can garnish regular earned wages.
  • The interception of unemployment benefits. New York courts have the authority to deduct child support owed from unemployment benefits if the payer is receiving them instead of a regular paycheck.
  • The interception of state and/or federal tax return funds. If a payer is owed a state or federal tax return but owes child support, the funds owed may be taken from their return, leaving the payer with the remainder, if any.
  • The seizure of property or assets. If a payer owns property or assets of particular value, those assets may be seized until back child support is paid or the assets may be liquidated to pay the support owed.
  • The submission of delinquent information to credit bureaus. A payer who continues to allow child support to go unpaid or paid late can be reported to credit bureaus in the same way a person who owes money on a credit card. A poor credit score can make it difficult to get a job, be approved for a loan, rent an apartment, buy a house, and more.
  • Passport denial. If a payer is behind on child support, they may not be able to get a new passport or renew their existing passport.
  • The suspension of driving privileges. A payer who owes back child support may have their New York driver’s license suspended.

Contact Our Experienced Long Island Family Law Firm Today for Help with Child Support

If you’re the recipient of child support funds that have gone unpaid, our compassionate and caring family law legal team can help. We will assist you in exploring your options to recover the child support owed to you. Contact our divorce and family law firm today to learn more about unpaid child support laws or to schedule a free child support consultation to discuss your case in detail by calling 631-923-1910.

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