What YOU Need To Know About
New York Child Support Laws

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The New York Child Support program provides custodial parents with assistance in obtaining financial support and medical insurance coverage for their children. This done by locating parents, establishing paternity, establishing support orders, and collecting and distributing child support payments.

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This department exists to raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from both of their parents. The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home.

Who can receive New York Child Support services?

New York Child Support Enforcement services are automatically provided to all custodial parents who receive temporary and safety net assistance unless cooperation with the child support agency may result in physical or emotional harm to the custodial parent or child. Child support services are provided upon application to all other eligible individuals, including parents, guardians or caretakers of children who do not receive temporary or safety net assistance.

Child support is financial support provided by the noncustodial parent.

Child Support includes:

  1. Cash payments (based on the parent's income and the needs of the child)
  2. Health insurance for the child (medical support)
  3. Payments for child care
  4. Payments for reasonable health care costs that are not covered by health insurance.

Family court officials (support magistrates) determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent will pay. Under New York State law, parents are responsible for supporting their child until the child is 21 years old. Every child is entitled to financial and emotional support from both parents. This is true even if the child's parents do not live together and were never married.

If you are the parent of a child, New York Child Support law says you are responsible for the financial support of that child until the child is 21, even if you have never lived with the child or do not live with the child now. If the child does not live with you, you will have to make child support payments to the other parent or to the person who is taking care of the child. This support should start the day your child is born.

Are you receiving public assistance?

Anyone who applies for temporary or safety net assistance or Title IV-E foster care automatically receives all child support services. Public assistance recipients do not have to apply for child support services. Medicaid applicants automatically receive two child support services, to establish paternity and obtain medical support. Medicaid applicants can apply for services to establish and/or enforce New York child support.

** If you apply for Medicaid while you are pregnant or your child is less than 2 months old, you must apply for New York Child Support services.

Location Investigation

If the custodial parent does not know where the noncustodial parent or putative (alleged) father lives, child support will attempt to locate the parent by checking the last known address and place of employment and through other local efforts. Federal, State, and local resources are also used to help locate the noncustodial parent or putative (alleged) father.

Establishing Paternity

For a child born to unmarried parents, there is no legal relationship between the father and the child. This legal relationship can be established either by completing a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form or by filing a paternity petition in court. Child support staff can assist unmarried parents to complete and file a voluntary Acknowledge of Paternity form. If there is any doubt about the identity of the father, child support staff can assist either parent to file a paternity petition for the court to determine the identity of the father. This determination will be made using genetic marker or DNA tests.

The child receives both emotional and financial benefits from paternity establishment, such as:

  • Reassurance that the parents cared enough to acknowledge paternity.
  • Having the father's name on the birth certificate.
  • Medical or life insurance from either parent, if available.
  • Information about family medical history

Financial support from both parents, including:

  1. Social Security
  2. Veterans benefits
  3. Inheritance rights
  4. Child support

Support Establishment

New York Child Support staff will assist custodial parents to file a petition in Family Court to obtain a child support order. Information about the noncustodial parent's ability to pay is presented to the court to use to calculate the support amount. The court uses a standard guideline to figure out what the noncustodial parent will pay. The child support amount is based on the noncustodial parent's adjusted gross income and on how many children are involved. The court multiplies the adjusted gross income by the standard guideline percentage for the number of children. These percentages are

17% for one child
25% for two children
29% for three children
31% for four children
at least 35% for five or more children

A share of child care, medical, and educational expenses is added to the percentage amount. The share of expenses plus the percentage amount equals the basic child support amount. The standard guideline percentage is applied to almost all parental income up to $80,000 (minus certain local and Social Security tax amounts). Income includes worker's compensation, disability payments, unemployment benefits, Social Security payments, and certain other forms of income. For annual income over $80,000, the court determines whether or not to use the percentage guidelines, and the court may consider other factors in setting the full support award.

Support Collection

The New York Child Support order will require the noncustodial parent to send all child support payments to the local Child Support Enforcement Unit's (CSEU) Support Collection Unit (SCU). The local SCU will keep track of how much child support is due and how often it is due. If the noncustodial parent's employer is known, a notice called an Income Execution (IEX) is sent to the employer notifying the employer of how much child support to withhold from the noncustodial parent's wages and where to send the child support payment.

If an employer is not known, the noncustodial parent will receive billing coupons that will indicate how much and when the payment is due and where to send the payments. The SCU is also responsible for distributing payments to custodial parents.Thus, when a payment is received by the SCU, the SCU will send a payment to the custodial parent.

If the custodial parent is on temporary or safety net assistance, the first $100 of current support collected during the month will be sent to the custodial parent—this is called a support "pass-through" payment. The remainder of the money received from the noncustodial parent will be used to reimburse the local, State, and federal government for temporary or safety net assistance paid to the custodial parent.

Annual service fee

Starting October 1, 2008, clients may be charged a $25.00 service fee once a year. The fee applies only to parents who have never received TANF benefits and who have a case with more than $500 in support collected during the federal fiscal year (October 1–September 30 of the next year). The fee will continue to apply in each federal fiscal year.

Support Enforcement: Administrative Process

Administrative enforcement processes are actions that the child support agency can take without going to court. These actions include

  • 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

Before any administrative enforcement action is taken, a notice will be sent to the noncustodial parent that explains the process, provides a time limit frame and instructions to comply with or challenge the action, and explains the consequences of failure to comply with the payment instruction. Several enforcement actions may occur at the same time based on the amount of past-due child support or the length of time that past-due payments have been accruing.

Cost of Living Adjustment

Every two years the New York Child Support Agency automatically reviews each child support order to determine cost of living increases. If the cost of living has increased by more than ten percent since the order was made or since the last review, the child support order amount will increase by the amount of the change in the cost of living. The cost of living adjustments can be made without going to court.

For non-temporary assistance or non-safety net cases, a notice is sent to both parents when a case is eligible for a cost of living adjustment, and either parent may request the adjustment. For cases where the custodial parent or child is on temporary or safety net assistance, the cost of living adjustment is automatically made when the case becomes eligible without either parent requesting the adjustment.

Modification of Child Support Orders

Either parent or the CSEU can file a petition in Family Court to request a modification (change) to an existing child support order. The modification petition should be based on the fact that either the custodial or noncustodial parent's circumstances have materially changed (e.g., change in income or other changes in circumstances).

Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement

The CSEU will also assist the custodial parent in obtaining and enforcing a court order for health insurance coverage for the child, if it is available through the noncustodial parent. The CSEU will help file a petition with Family Court to get health insurance included in the support order and will enforce the coverage if it is available through the noncustodial parent's employer but has not been provided as ordered.

New York Child Support Customer service

New York Child Support
TTY: 1-866-875-9975
Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM–7:00 PM

NYS Child Support Processing Center
PO Box 15363
Albany, NY 12212

Please note: Child support payments sent to any other address will be returned by the United States Postal Service. Make sure your payments are received and credited promptly; use only the address shown above.
Employer Helpline 1-888-208-4485
TTY: 1-866-875-9975)
Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM–7:00 PM

New York State Child Support - Get help with New York State child support, find divorce and family law attorneys, joint and sole custody family law help and lawyers to help with all types of family court matters.

New York State Child Support Guidelines - Get help with New York State child support guidelines, New York child custody laws, and New York State child support enforcement from New York Divorce lawyer Mary Grace Condello in Brooklyn. Call 888-695-2943 anytime to get the child support, divorce or other family law help you need.

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