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What are the consequences for failing to pay child support?

Sometimes, even if a parent in New York has been paying child support on time and in full for years, something happens in life that keeps the parent from being able to pay. Other times, a parent shirks responsibilities towards the child and purposely doesn't pay child support. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if a parent fails to pay child support, there are consequences.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that a parent should start paying child support as soon as that parent is ordered to do so. This may mean paying starting with the birth of the child, if the parent is not married to the child's other parent. However, even if a parent's child support obligations start later, it is possible that some payments will be retroactive. Therefore, if a parent is ordered to pay child support, the parent should do so from the beginning.

New York's child support enforcement agency will maintain records of any child support owed. If the paying parent fails to meet child support obligations, the amount of support left unpaid is referred to as in "arrears." The child support enforcement agency has the right to do what is necessary to recover these payments.

For example, the paying parent's lottery winnings and tax refunds could be intercepted, as could funds in the paying parent's bank account. A paying parent's driver's license could be suspended if the parent has arrears. In addition, the arrears could be reported to credit agencies. Finally, a paying parent could even be sent to jail over arrears.

Obviously, these consequences are undesirable. Therefore, it is important for paying parents to keep up on what they owe in child support. If this isn't possible, the parent could seek a modification of child support. However, until the modification is approved, the parent should still continue paying, as a modification is not retroactive.

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Carton & Rosoff PC
150 Grand Street, Suite 305
White Plains, NY 10601

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