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Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in NYC

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in NYC

When a parent who owes a child support obligation fails to pay as scheduled on a regular basis, the court can force repayment and penalize the debtor in a variety of ways. The New York City Department of Social Services Support Collection Unit can take administrative or judicial action to compel full child support order compliance.

Here are some of the potential measures that may be taken:

Add Amount to Child Support Balance

If an individual falls behind on support payments, their monthly payment amount may be increased up to 50 percent until the past-due balance is paid off.

Tax Refund Deduction

If the parent who owes support expects a state or federal tax refund, it may instead go to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to pay off the overdue balance.

Asset Seizure

The OCSE can identify and seize a delinquent payor’s bank account or related financial assets to ensure the debt is paid. For this to be enacted, the amount owed must at least $300 or equal to or more than two months of missed payments. Parents who pay via payroll deduction can be held accountable through this option if they have at least $3,000 in a bank account.

Violation Petition

In some cases, delinquent child support may be enforced by the Family Court after administrative options like those listed above have been exhausted. Potential outcomes include:

  • Monetary judgment: 9 percent interest accumulates toward the balance until it is paid off.
  • Property lien: This could be placed on a parent’s property, which requires the child support debt to be paid before the property may be sold.
  • Deposit to cover payments: A parent can be forced to deposit up to three years of support payments to cover future obligations.
  • Support Through Education Program (STEP): A noncustodial parent who cannot pay due to unemployment or underemployment could be required to take part in the STEP program so they can find work and make their payments.
  • Arrest and incarceration: If a parent does not appear in court for a support violation hearing or falls significantly behind on their payments, the court can order their arrest and incarceration for up to six months if they display willful nonpayment.

Contact a New York City Child Support Lawyer

While parents who are owed child support should receive it as scheduled, sometimes substantial changes in an individual’s life – including the loss of employment – can limit their ability to pay. If you find yourself on either end of this scenario, Goldberg Sager & Associates can help. To speak with a Brooklyn, NY family law attorney, call 718-514-9516 for a free consultation.


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    1628 Kings Highway at East 17th Street
    Brooklyn, New York 11229
    Phone: 718-645-6677