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 don’t have a child support order, you can file a support petition in Family Court. Or, you can go to your local Child Support Enforcement Unit to help you start the Family Court case.

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

If child support payments fall behind, the local child support services office can temporarily

  • 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 or call (800) 774-6922 representatives are ready to assist you.  Open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm

This entry was posted in Child Support and tagged on by .


The information contained herein has been prepared in compliance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works. The articles/Images contained herein serve as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, educational, and research-as examples of activities that qualify as fair use. Undisputed Legal Inc. is a Process Service Agency and “Not A Law Firm” therefore the articles/images contained herein are for educational purposes only, and not intended as legal advice.