Under New York State law, both parents must financially support their child until the child turns 21 years old. Child support also includes providing health insurance coverage until the child turns 21 years old.
If the child is under 21 and married, self-supporting, or in the military then the child is emancipated and the parents don’t have to support the child.
About Child Support
In general, the custodial parent can get child support from the other parent, the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of the child. This means that the child lives with this parent most of the time.
- If the two parents were never married to each other, there must be an Acknowledgment of Paternity or Order of Filiation to establish paternity.
- The custodial parent can get child support even if that parent can support the child on their own.
- Even if the two parents are living together with the child, one parent can get a child support order if the other parent refuses to help pay for the child’s bills.
If the child is in foster care then both parents have a responsibility of paying child support.
Child support can be:
- Ordered during a Divorce case in Supreme Court.
- Ordered by filing a support petition in Family Court.
- Arranged by written agreement between the parents.
- A written agreement must meet a few specific requirements or the Court can refuse to use it.
Child Support Order
If you have a child support order and want to change or enforce it, you can use the free and easy Support Modification and Enforcement/Violation DIY Form program. This program can ask the Family Court to modify the order. It can also ask the Family Court to enforce the order if the other parent is not following it.
Child Support Services
If you are a custodial parent or guardian you can get child support services from New York State. The local Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) does many helpful things to get you the child support. In New York City the office is called the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS).
This service is available to all custodial parents and guardians regardless of income, cash assistance, or immigration status.
If you need to keep your address confidential from the person who pays the support so that you can’t be found, then do not give CSEU your home or work address. Talk to the person who is helping you to find out how to protect yourself.
What Kind of Help
The local child support services office can help you with the following things:
- Locate the noncustodial parent if you don’t know where he or she is.
- Serve the summons on the noncustodial parent
- Collect child support through its Support Collection Unit (SCU) and send the payment to you
- Increase the amount of the child support order with a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), without going back to court
- increase the amount of the order
- seize (take) bank accounts, tax refunds, and lottery winnings
- suspend driver licenses
- report child support debt to credit reporting agencies
How to Apply
If you get public assistance in cash you must use the service. There is no fee.
If you’re not on public assistance, you must apply for child support services. There is an administrative fee of $25 a year if you get over $500 of child support a year.
For more information, call the NYS Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485 (available Monday-Friday, 8:00am-7:00pm).
Support and Public Assistance
If you or your child gets public assistance in cash, any support is paid directly to the Human Resources Administration (HRA) in New York City or the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) outside of New York City and not to you.
The support money is used to pay back public assistance but you will get some of the support money each month on top of your public assistance grant.
If you get child support and public assistance, you must cooperate with HRA or OTDA as they try to get child support from the other parent. This means that you must give them any information on the other parent like home and work addresses and you must go to court if necessary.
If there is a history of domestic violence and you or your child are in danger, HRA or OTDA might agree that it’s best if you don’t try to get the child support from the other parent. To show that there’s a danger of domestic violence, bring in orders of protection, police reports, and hospital records.
Starting a Child Support Case
Under New York State law, both parents must financially support their child until the child turns 21 years old.
If the parents weren’t married to each other when the child was born, the legal father must be established before a child support case starts. This is called paternity. Paternity can be established in two ways: (1) both parents sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity, or (2) the court signs an Order of Filiation after a paternity case.
A child support case is started automatically after an Order of Filiation is signed.
Who Can File for Child Support
In general, whoever the child lives with most of the time and has custody of the child can get child support for the child.
When two parents don’t live together and one parent has custody of the child, the custodial parent can get child support from the other parent, the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of the child. This means that the child lives with this parent most of the time.
If the child lives with a non-parent who has custody or guardianship of the child, the non-parent can get child support from one or both of the child’s parents.
If the child is not emancipated but does not live with either parent, the child can get child support.
If the child gets Public Assistance, the Department of Social Services (DSS) could file for child support against the non-custodial parent. If the child is in foster care, DSS could file for child support against both parents.
Filing a Child Support Case
Child support cases are usually started in Family Court in the county where the child lives. There is no filing fee in Family Court.
After a child support petition is filed, the other side must be “served” a summons, the petition, and the financial disclosure form. The person who filed the petition is the Petitioner and the other side is the Respondent. The summons tells the Petitioner and the Respondent when and where to come to Family Court for a hearing The Child Support Enforcement Unit can help you start the case.
Both the Petitioner and the Respondent have the right to hire their own lawyers. If a party can’t afford to hire a lawyer, the court may assign one at no cost.
For more information on serving child support papers visit www.undisputedlegal.com or call (800) 774-6922 representatives are ready to assist you. Open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm