Enforcement of Spousal and Child Support


What can I do if my spouse refuses to pay child support or maintenance?
You can bring a proceeding in the Supreme Court of the State of New York or the Family Court of the State of New York for a support order. If your separation/settlement agreement or divorce judgment contains a direction to your spouse to pay maintenance or child support you can bring an enforcement proceeding in the Supreme Court of the State of New York or Family Court to enforce your legal rights. The Supreme Court of the State of New York or the Family Court of the State of New York can grant you a money judgment against your spouse, direct him/her to put up security for future payments, appoint a receiver of his/her property or hold him/her in contempt of court.

You can also sue your spouse for breach of your separation/settlement contract. If the amount involved is less than $3,000 you can sue for breach of contract in Small Claims Court. You may also obtain an Income Execution for Support Enforcement from your divorce attorney, the Clerk of the Family Court or the child support collection unit of the Family Court of the State of New York. You may also obtain an Income Deduction Order from the Supreme Court or the Family Court.

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Can I obtain Child Support Enforcement services?
Anyone can request "child support enforcement services". The New York Social Services Law provides that these services be made available, upon application, to persons not receiving aid to dependent children. The application is made by either completing and signing a form prescribed by the New York Department of Social Services, or filing a petition with the Family Court or applying to the Family Court of the State of New York in a proceeding for the establishment of paternity and/or enforcement of a support obligation, including a signed application for child support services.

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What happens when I request Child Support Enforcement services?
When an order of support is being enforced by child support enforcement services, the New York Family Court must direct that the child support payments be made to the New York Child Support Enforcement Unit, which must immediately issue an income execution for child support or combined maintenance and child support, and may issue an execution for medical support enforcement in accordance with the provisions of the support order. There is an exception for a child who is not in receipt of public assistance if the parents have signed a written agreement providing for alternative support arrangements.

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For More Information on Child Support Enforcement