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How to Enforce Child Support Orders


Although obtaining orders from the court, or reaching an agreement with your spouse, is half the battle in divorce, your proceedings may not end there. Long after your divorce is finalized, you and your spouse may need to modify and enforce orders. When one parent refuses to obey a child support order, there are many ways to enforce it:

  • Income execution: Income execution, or wage garnishment, is when support payments are deducted from the parent’s wages or other income.
  • Unemployment insurance intercept: If the parent is receiving unemployment benefits, child support may be deducted automatically before benefits are paid.
  • Income tax refund intercept: When a parent fails to pay child support, any overdue amount may be deducted from both state and federal income tax refunds.
  • Credit bureau submissions: The court may allow the name of the delinquent parent to be submitted to the three major credit reporting agencies, making it difficult for that parent to obtain a loan or credit until support is paid.
  • Lottery intercepts: If the delinquent parent wins the New York State lottery, the funds must first be used to pay support.
  • Property execution: Property execution is often an effective way to obtain overdue support because it allows the other spouse to seize financial assets, including bank accounts.
  • Liens: The spouse may file a lien against the parent’s real estate or personal injury claims and awards to collect payments.
  • Tax referrals: The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance can use tax collection remedies to collect overdue child support.
  • Money judgments: The court may issue mandatory money judgments against the parent to force payment.

In addition, the court may suspend the parent’s driver license, deny a passport or suspend professional licenses. A parent may be fined, placed in a work program, given probation or imprisoned. If you need help enforcing or modifying child support, custody or other divorce orders or an agreement, talk to a skilled New York divorce attorney.