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How to handle an inability to pay child support in New York

It is not unusual for a parent who has been ordered to pay child support in New York to have an issue keeping up with the payments. This can make it difficult if not outright impossible for them to make the payments they are supposed to make. A failure to pay child support can lead to numerous problems for the supporting parent, the custodial parent and the child. If a parent is unable to pay, there are certain steps to take to avoid being charged with delinquent payments and enduring an ongoing child support dispute. Knowing these steps is imperative to settling the matter.

A supporting parent might lose a job, get a different job that does not pay as much as the previous one, or face other issues that render them unable to make their payments. If this happens, the person should seek to modify the payments by filing a petition with the court. Once that has been done, there will be a hearing date for the parent to give information and documentation detaining the income changes or other changes that have arisen. The court might change the order based on this information. If it does make the change, it will be retroactive to the time at which the filing was made. Credit will also be given for payments from the time of the filing to the date of the decision. While waiting for the hearing, the supporting parent should pay as much as possible even if it is not the amount that was ordered.

The court is the only entity that can alter the amount that is to be paid. Until the change has been made, the supporting parent is still legally obligated to pay the amount that the original order stated he or she was supposed to pay. If these payments are not made, there are steps that the state can take to get the money. A mistake that many parents make while waiting for a hearing to modify order is to stop paying. This will lead to a pursuit for delinquent payments with the accompanying penalties.

Parents who are seeking to change the amount they are ordered to pay in child support must make certain to petition for the modification as soon as possible. Speaking to an attorney can help with making the change while still adhering to the financial needs of the children and avoiding any consequences with the accusations of failure to pay child support.

Source:, "What if I can't pay my child support?," accessed on March 6, 2017

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