What Are the Penalties for Non-Payment of Child Support?

Child Custody

Child support payments are considered sacred in the State of New York and the failure to pay can lead to drastic measures being taken against the non custodial parent. Penalties can range from several unnecessary trips to the local family court to the suspension of your driver’s license, and in the most extreme situation, incarceration for up to six months.

If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay what he/she is obligated to pay, the custodial parent can file a violation petition/contempt application with the local family court, and if non payment persists, a hearing will be held to determine whether or not the failure to pay support is willful. If the Court finds that the failure to pay is willful, the Court has the authority to sentence the non custodial parent to up to six months in jail for each charge of contempt. If the non custodial parent is sentenced and hauled off to prison, the Court will set a purge amount (the amount due plus penalties and interest). If someone is willing to pay the purge amount on behalf of the non custodial parent, he/she can be immediately released from prison. However, if the purge amount is not paid, the payor must serve out his entire sentence and still pay whatever is owed when he is released.

To assist custodial parents in collecting their support in a timely manner, New York State has set up the Child Support Collection Unit (CSCU), a separate agency which is specifically designed to enforce child support orders. If the non custodial parent refuses to comply with a child support order, the custodial parent can contact CSCU, set up an account, pay a one time fee of $25.00 and CSCU will enforce the child support order. CSCU has the authority to issue garnishment notices to the payor’s employer and collect child support directly from the payor’s employer and/or it can restrain the payor’s bank account to collect what is due.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding establishing a child support agreement, you should speak with an attorney to make sure it is fully enforceable.

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