What Happens if You Can’t Pay Child Support

Navigating child support obligations in New York can be challenging, especially when financial circumstances take an unexpected turn. Life is full of uncertainties, and situations can arise that make meeting your child support obligations difficult, at times. Knowing the potential consequences of not meeting your financial responsibilities regarding your child support in New York and the options you may have can help prevent certain outcomes that can affect you and your child’s best interest. 

3 Major Consequences of Not Paying Court-Ordered Child Support in New York

If you are unable to pay your court-ordered child support in New York, you have a high chance of facing these significant consequences, along with others, depending on your specific situation. 

Wage Garnishment and Asset Seizure: Courts can implement wage garnishment, where a portion of the non-paying parent’s wages is automatically withheld and redirected to the custodial parent. Authorities may also seize tax refunds, bank accounts, and property to cover outstanding payments. 

Loss of Driver’s License and Professional Licenses: The state of New York allows authorities to suspend the driver’s licenses and professional licenses (such as those for doctors, lawyers, or contractors) of individuals who are in arrears on child support payments. The suspension of a driver’s license can significantly impact the non-compliant parent’s ability to commute to work and meet other daily obligations. Similarly, the suspension of professional licenses can jeopardize their career and livelihood.

Liens on Property: Child support arrears can result in a lien being placed on the non-paying parent’s property. In essence, the state has the right to keep possession of the property until the debt is satisfied, which could affect the ability to sell or refinance.

Modifying Your Court Orders

In some circumstances where significant changes affect your ability to meet your financial obligations, it is possible to modify your court orders. Changes in income, employment status, health care needs, or the custodial arrangements of your child can all be valid reasons for seeking a modification. To initiate the modification process for child support in New York, consult with an experienced New York family law attorney who can guide you through the necessary steps. Typically, you will need to file a formal request with the family court that issued the original child support order. The court will review your case, consider the new circumstances, and determine whether a modification is warranted. To strengthen your legal position in court,  provide all relevant documentation and be prepared to demonstrate the substantial change that justifies the adjustment. 

If you are unable to modify your court order, there are alternate resources and steps you can consider to help pay your child support in New York. Access Public Assistance Programs, if eligible, is a great resource if you are struggling financially. Programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can provide temporary relief and support for your basic needs. If you are struggling with securing stable employment, explore programs and services that offer job training, career counseling, and employment assistance. Additionally, seeking financial counseling or budgeting assistance to better manage your finances and prioritize child support payments can be beneficial in times like this.

My Ex Isn’t Paying Child Support. What Can I Do?

In New York, if your ex-spouse is failing to meet their financial obligations, you have the right to take them to court. Child support in New York is a legally binding obligation, and the custodial parent has the right to seek enforcement through the court system. To initiate this process, you can file a motion or petition with the court that originally issued the order. This formal legal step notifies the court of the non-compliance and requests enforcement actions to ensure the financial well-being of your child.

Once you have filed the motion, the court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present their arguments. During the hearing, your ex-spouse will have the opportunity to explain their reasons for not complying with the child support order. The court will carefully consider the evidence presented and may take various enforcement actions if it determines the non-compliance to be willful. 

How a New York Child Support Attorney Can Help

Whether you are unable to meet the financial obligations of child support in New York, or you are in a position where you are not receiving court-ordered payments, seeking professional legal guidance to navigate the complexities of the legal system can help. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we specialize in family law matters, including issues involved with child support in New York. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to helping you find viable solutions and ensuring your rights are protected. We have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the expert legal advice and representation you need. Contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

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