In last week’s post, we reviewed how child support gets determined in New York divorce cases. While most parents comply with such financial assistance orders, there are situations in which people cannot or choose not to pay. We have helped numerous parents understand the state’s enforcement options, and act to modify their existing orders in order to avoid such consequences and provide their children with what support they can.
State law has granted legislative authority for collecting child support arrears to the New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement. According to Child Support, the state may take a variety of enforcement actions, including suspending parents’ driver’s licenses. Parents who fall behind four months or more on their child support obligations may have their driving privileges suspended until such time as they make a full payment, enter a payment arrangement or successfully challenge the suspension. The state may also take action to suspend parents’ professional and recreational licenses or to see their passport applications or renewals denied.
Parents who fall behind more than two months and owe at least $300 may have their financial assets frozen. If the state freezes their accounts, people may not have access to their money until they pay the amount indicated in the notice of the enforcement action or file a claim. The state may also intercept people’s lottery prizes, as well as their state and federal income tax refunds.
Should they be four months or more in arrears and owe more than $500 in back child support, the division may refer them to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The DTF may apply tax collection remedies, such as filing liens against their personal or real property or seizing their property or assets.
Fortunately, New York’s child support program provides avenues for parents to resolve enforcement actions, some of which may not require them to go to court. Our page on modifications and enforcement can provide more information on such issues.