If I receive a notice to appear in New York Family Court for Child Support, what should I bring to court?
Prior to any court appearance, you should always attempt to contact a NY Child Support Lawyer for advisement on what should and should not be done. In the absence of a Child support attorney, the following should be brought to court:
-documentation, such as pay stubs, which prove your salary;
-if you have pre-existing child support orders, proof of such orders;
-a completed Financial Disclosure Affidavit;
-proof of any benefits received if receiving benefits of any kind (i.e. Medicaid, food stamps, social security, disability, worker’s compensation, unemployment, Veteran’s, pension, retirement, etc.);
-proof of your expenses such as Taxes and FICA;
-proof of living expenses such as utility bills, grocery store receipts, car payments, rent, credit card statements, etc., as these may be taking into consideration when determining your child support payment amount.
What if I know or think I am not the father?
Refer to an earlier article written by a New York Family Law attorney on “Paternity and other Father’s Rights issues” for more details related to this subject. However, paternity can be contested by first informing the court that you are not or may not be the father of the child. In most cases, the court must then determine paternity before it can order child support. Courts often utilize DNA testing to establish proof of paternity. If you are found to be the father, the court will issue an Order of Filiation stating that you are the father, and then move forward with the child support proceeding.
What does New York CSEU stand for?
CSEU is the abbreviation for New York Child Support Enforcement Unit. The CSEU is responsible for collecting child support from all New York State child support orders. The main address at which most payments are accepted is:
NYS Child Support Processing Center
PO box 15363
Albany, NY 12212-5363
How do I contact the Child Support Enforcement Unit?
Each county has their own CSEU responsible for cases within their particular county. A list of every county’s CSEU mailing address, walk-in address (if available), and court contact can be found here. The main mailing address for non-custodial parents making payments is listed above.
I work “off the books” so what do I bring to court to prove income?
If you do not receive a regular paycheck, the court may “Impute” income on you. The court will look at a number of factors when deciding if and how much income to impute such as:
-what the court thinks you should earn according to your age, education level, previous work experiences, etc.;
-how much you previously earned and how long ago;
-the standard of living in your current household.
What if I lose my job and can no longer afford to pay child support?
Any change in circumstances that limit the ability of a non-custodial parent to pay child support should be brought to the attention of the court immediately. Go to the court where the Child support order was made and file a petition for a downward modification. To succeed in getting the court to reduce the amount of child support, the petitioner (person filing for the downward modification) must prove the following:
-3 years have passed since the last order was entered (you can request a review every 3 years) or;
-“A substantial change of circumstances” has occurred such as:
- The non-custodial parent is incarcerated
- A disability or serious injury or illness has occurred limiting the ability to work
- If either parent’s income has changed (either up or down by 15% or more) since the last order was made
- In some cases, if involuntary unemployment has occurred AND the unemployed party can show proof of actively pursuing (and failing) at obtaining new employment
It is often difficult to understand what proof the court needs to understand why a downward modification is necessary. A New York lawyer that focuses on child support and family law issues should always be consulted prior to filing any petitions.
I stopped paying my child support, what can happen?
A court order will not disappear because the non-custodial parent stopped paying. Payments that are not made accumulate into what is called arrears. New York State orders for child support can remain active even after a child turns 21. The SCEU (support collection unit) can:
- Garnish your paycheck (have the money taken directly from your paycheck)
- Suspend your driver’s license (if the non-custodial parent is more than a few months behind)
- Prevent you from getting a passport (again, if more than a few months of arrears exists)
- Take your federal and state tax refund checks
- Notify credit reporting agencies
- Liens may be filed against property owned by the parent in arrears
- Take arrears directly from your bank account without your permission
- Willful violations of child support orders resulting in large amounts of arrears may lead to the arrest of the non-paying parent
Once a party is in arrears, the court is generally unable to reduce or eliminate the arrears. An attorney that specializes in New York Child Support laws may be able to provide guidance regarding options associated with child support arrears.
If I give the custodial parent money directly, do I still have to pay child support?
YES! Therefore, you should always pay child support as the court order directs. The court will not give the paying parent a credit for money given directly to the other parent, gifts for the child(ren), paying for medical procedures, food, clothing, etc. Anything provided beyond the child support order is just that, outside of the order.
Does paying child support mean the paying parent gets visitation?
Visitation in New York and custody in New York are not connected with child support in New York. Although they may be dealt with in Family court, one court will handle the visitation and custody issues, and another court will handle child support. For more information on child custody and visitation, click here
Who can help me with questions about child support in New York?
New York Child Support Resources for custodial parents
New York Child Support Resources for Non-custodial parents
Jason C. Bost, Esq. is a New York State Licensed Attorney and partner at Patel, Soltis & Cardenas LLC, who has helped many clients with family court and Child Support issues.