What to Do If Your Ex Falls Behind on Child Support Payments
Being a single parent isn’t easy. Even with regular child support payments, raising kids in a one-income household can be stressful. And if those payments stop, it may be downright impossible to cover the necessities.
If your ex has fallen behind on child support, you may be tempted to bar him or her from seeing the kids. Because custody and child support are two separate issues, though, the court addresses them independently. That means parents who are owed child support must continue following the court’s visitation schedule. Likewise, noncustodial parents must continue making payments even if the custodial parent interferes with their parenting time.
In other words, parents shouldn’t take matters into their own hands when their ex violates a court order. Instead, they should go through the proper channels to restore the arrangement.
If you’re the custodial parent and your ex has fallen behind on child support, here are the steps you should take:
1. Consult the Child Support Enforcement Program
The child support enforcement program is responsible for collecting and distributing child support payments. Should a party fall behind, they’re also responsible for enforcing the child support order through administrative means.
The child support enforcement program has a number of ways to collect back payments including:
- Temporarily increasing the payment obligation by 50 percent;
- Diverting federal and/or state income tax refunds;
- Diverting New York State lottery winnings that exceed $600; and
- Seizing financial assets like savings or checking account balances.
If your ex falls behind on payments, one of their agents can inform you of the steps they’re taking to recover what you’re owed.
2. File a Violation Petition
If the administrative enforcement methods listed above do not yield the back payments you’re owed, you may take a judicial approach. To get started, you must file a violation petition with Family Court. A knowledgeable attorney can help you complete this petition accurately and thoroughly to prevent any unnecessary delays.
3. Attend the Scheduled Hearing
Upon receiving your petition, Family Court will schedule a violation hearing. Depending on the circumstances, this proceeding may result in:
- A money judgement that accumulates 9 percent interest annually until it’s paid off;
- A lien against the defendant’s property;
- A cash deposit toward future payment obligations;
- Incarceration (typically only if the noncustodial parent has fallen seriously behind or fails to appear in court); and/or
- The suspension of any state-issued occupational, business, or professional licenses.
Discuss Your Case with a Family Law Attorney in New York
If your ex has stopped paying child support, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine the best way to proceed. Our attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience in the legal field.
We will help you navigate every stage of the court proceedings so you can focus on more important matters. Call us today at 716-855-3761 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a consultation with one of the top family lawyers in New York.