Modification & Enforcement Proceedings

Our attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP have substantial experience assisting clients in the modification of child custody, support, and spousal maintenance orders, as well as the enforcement of court orders.

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New York City Order Modification 
& Enforcement Lawyers

The New York City family law attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP have substantial experience assisting clients in the modification of child custody, support, and spousal maintenance orders, as well as the enforcement of court orders when a parent or former spouse is not meeting his or her custody or support obligations. Based in midtown Manhattan, we serve clients throughout the New York City area, in addition to Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.

When Is the Modification of an Order Warranted?

A party to a custody, child support, or spousal maintenance order may file a petition to request a modification to an existing order if either party has experienced a material change in circumstances. When the proposed modification involves child custody or visitation, it must also be in the best interest of the child.

Examples of materially changed circumstances include:

  • A former spouse’s remarriage or cohabitation with another person
  • A former spouse gains new employment or a promotion
  • One parent decides to move out of state or far from the other parent
  • A child’s changing needs, including cases in which a child develops special needs
  • A party’s deteriorating physical or mental condition, such as by drug or alcohol abuse
  • One parent’s interference with a child’s relationship with the other parent
  • A party’s conviction of a crime

At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, we are committed to achieving our clients’ goals, and have helped many clients successfully modify custody, visitation, support, and spousal maintenance arrangements.

Can Hiring a Matrimonial Law Attorney Make a Difference in My Case?

When you have unresolved disagreements with a party that end with the issuance of a court order, it does not magically make the conflict disappear. Family law matters revolve around issues fraught with high emotion. That puts court orders intended to manage strained personal relationships at substantially high risk for being violated by one or both parties. Additionally, there may come a time when an order will no longer effectively address a changing situation.

It is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable family law attorney who can remain focused on the important issues and craft a strategy that will give you the best chance of attaining your goal.

What Violations of a Court Order Will Trigger Enforcement?

It is not uncommon for emotions to take over when dealing with long-standing conflict, making the violation of family court orders a common occurrence. Parties can have numerous reasons for failing to follow the provisions of a court order, most of which they believe to be warranted.

There are consequences for intentionally violating an order because you:

  • Fail to maintain your child support obligation. Some parties may feel like the amount they pay for child support is just a payday for their spouse, particularly if they also owe spousal support. The paying parent may also suspect that the receiving parent was not forthcoming about his/her income resulting in an excessive child support award. You may have a legitimate ground for seeking a reduction in support, but until you are able to obtain relief, you must continue to support your children under the terms of the current order.
  • Withhold your children from visitation. Whether you are upset about child support going unpaid or disagree with your spouse’s child rearing methods, you must make your children available for scheduled visitation with their other parent. Using visitation as a punishment or reward for your spouse’s behavior may have detrimental effects for your children and you.
  • Fail to complete property transfers. Certain forms of marital property require documentation to be executed to legally transfer ownership. Often there are deadlines set for this transaction to be finalized. Refusing to complete the process denies your spouse the right to property awarded to him or her. In some cases, it may even cause financial hardship by holding up a sale of the property or preventing use of funds.
  • Are late for child visitation exchanges. Making it a habit of being late for visitation pickups or drop offs can cause significant inconvenience and throw off the schedule of your spouse or children. It can be considered an avoidable interference with parenting time. If there is a genuine reason for being late such as a work schedule change, speak with one of our attorneys about how best to best manage the issue before it becomes a problem.
  • Fail to pay spousal support. Parties ordered to pay spousal support may feel they have been treated fairly, and as a result might delay or skip payments as a means of evening the score. Furthermore, payment methods designed to cause inconvenience to the receiving spouse are ill-advised. A payor spouse may feel vindicated by using unconventional means such as foreign currency, but it can land him/her back in court.
  • Remove your children from the state. Custody orders can limit either parent’s ability to travel or relocate with their children. If a rare opportunity is at stake, a parent may feel they have no choice but to ignore this provision of the order; however, the violation will almost assuredly result in filing of an emergency action.

What Is Contempt of a Court Order?

A good way to look at a court order is to view it as legally binding instructions by the court, which has full authority to enforce those instructions and punish anyone who does not comply with them.

These situations are often handled through filing an action for contempt of court, designed to enforce the order by subjecting the violator to civil or criminal penalties. These penalties can range from fines to extensive jail time. Additional relief may be granted to the party seeking the order based upon their petition.

Whether you are the party accused of violating an order or your rights under the order have been stifled, our seasoned attorneys will be there to guide you toward a suitable resolution.

How Are New York Child Support Orders Enforced?

Child support orders have other enforcement mechanisms that can be used by city or state agencies in charge of collecting support. Once a court establishes a child support order, nothing short of a court-approved modification or extreme circumstances can relieve a party’s obligation to follow the order. When a party is not obeying a child support order, New York law provides administrative processes to enforce the orders at issue, such as:

  • Income execution
  • Unemployment insurance intercept
  • Income tax refund offset
  • Credit bureau submissions
  • Lottery intercepts
  • Property execution
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Passport denial
  • Lien filing
  • Tax referrals

These enforcement mechanisms can be used in conjunction with applications to hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court. One thing to note: these options are only available if a parent receiving child support has elected to do such through a government agency, rather than directly from the other parent.

Our New York enforcement attorneys can help clients petition for the enforcement of court orders and may also defend clients against enforcement actions.




    All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.


    Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.


    We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.


    Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.

Contact a NY Family Law Attorney with Experience in Modifications & Enforcement

If you live in the New York area and need assistance modifying or enforcing a custody, child support, or spousal maintenance order, please contact Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP or call (212) 466-6015 to schedule an appointment with an experienced NYC family law attorney. Proudly serving Manhattan, Westchester, and Bergen County, New Jersey.


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