What Happens When You Refuse to Pay Child Support?
Parents that disregard child support payments could face serious consequences. As these funds serve an important purpose, providing your child with shelter, food, clothing, and much more, it is imperative to pay them on time. As such, it is a good idea to start paying child support when it is due and continue paying it until it terminates. When payments are not made, they continue to add up becoming child support arrears, which are tracked by the New York Child Support Enforcement Agency. Today, we will discuss what happens when you decide not to pay child support obligations.
How Are Child Support Payments Enforced?
The New York Child Support Enforcement Agency utilizes a wide range of different tactics to enforce child support payments. These methods may include but are not limited to the following:
- Confiscating your tax refund
- Garnishing wages/bank accounts
- Suspending your driver’s license
- Taking away your lottery winnings
- Notifying credit agencies
If you fail to pay child support, you will be notified via mail with a document detailing how to prevent this from happening again.
What Is the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program?
Each state in the Untied States has a child support enforcement (CSE) program, which requires the state to establish and maintain statewide child support enforcement laws. The CSE also collects and distributes child support payments and enforces them.
In New York, child support enforcement services are provided by Child Support Enforcement Units (CSEU) and Support Collection Units (SCU) in every county and in New York City.
Consequences of Refusing to Pay Child Support
Once child support payments fall behind, there are certain enforcements that may be put in place to collect payments. These tools for enforcing child support are either administrative or judicial, which requires a court hearing. The administrative enforcement processes that may occur include but are not limited to the following:
If you fail to pay child support payments, your order could be temporarily increased by up to 50% until the arrears are paid off.
Tax refund offset
The noncustodial parent’s federal or state income tax refund may be intercepted and sent to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to pay off past-due child support. State tax refund offset happens once you owe at least $50. Federal tax refund offset happens once the amount you owe reaches $500.
Lottery prize intercept
In New York State, OCSE can intercept lottery prize winnings if the past-due payment is at least $50 and the lottery winnings amount to at least $600.
OCSE can also seize bank accounts and other financial assets to fulfill past-due child support obligations.
Suspended driver’s license
Your driver’s license could be suspended if the amount of child support owed is equal to or greater than 4 months of the current financial obligation and the noncustodial parent is not paying by payroll deduction. It is possible for your license to remain suspended until you pay all the money you owe or provide employment information that could result in a child support deduction.
Credit bureau reporting
OCSE submits the names of delinquent parents to Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) when they owe at least $1,000 in child support or are 2 months in arrears - whichever happens first. This could negatively affect your credit score.
Referral to the New York State Division of Taxation and Finance
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance will identify cases and seize assets to satisfy past-due support obligations if the amount owed is equal to or greater than 4 months of the current obligation amount, greater than $500, and no payments have been received from payroll deductions in the past 45 days.
If you owe at least $2,500 in child support, the State Department can deny your request to renew or obtain a new passport.
Denial of NYC Business and Professional Licenses
OCSE can place restrictions on new and renewed licenses issued by the State of New York when the individual owes child support payments equal to or greater than 4 months of the current financial obligation.
Judicial enforcement processes that may occur include but are not limited to:
- Money judgment
- Lien on property
- Cash deposit for future payments
- Referral to the Support Through Employment Program (STEP)
If you need help modifying or enforcing child support payments, contact us online or call our office via (631) 237-9525.