If you are not receiving the child support awarded to you by a court, the first step to take is to use administrative remedies.
Staying Out of Court
Administrative remedies are actions you can take that don’t require you to go to court. For example, if the order is for direct pay (payments made directly to you via check, paypal, or any other method), you can apply for Child Support Enforcement Services. The state will help you collect your child support. The following are actions that the Support Collection Unit can take to get the money to you:
- suspend your ex’s driver’s license
- suspend your ex’s recreational licenses
- garnish your ex’s paychecks
- freeze your ex’s bank accounts
When Court Is the Only Option
What if the above administrative remedies do not work? In that case, court is the only option. In most situations it will be Family Court. In some rare cases, your divorce judgment may require you to go to Supreme Court in order to enforce or modify any orders.
What can Family Court do? In order for the court to act, you will need to prove that your ex has willfully violated the order of child support. That requires proof that there is an order in place for child support which has gone unpaid. Your ex will then have to prove that he or she could not comply with the order, which is hard to do.
When You Win…
Once you win in court, the court will issue a money judgment, which is an order saying that you’re entitled to get the child support money that is owed to you. In some cases, a money judgment may not work. For example, your ex may have no assets or may work off the books. Maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve gone after your ex for back child support. In those cases, the court may actually send your ex to jail.
If he or she is sent to jail, a purge amount, also known as an undertaking, will be set. This is like bail for child support; the court will determine a certain amount of money that must be paid towards the child support for your ex to get out of jail. Additionally, the court will order your ex to pay at least some of your counsel fees. In most cases, assuming that your ex was found to have willfully violated the child support order, the court will order your ex to pay all of your counsel fees.
Every case is different and every case is unique. If you are forced to go after your ex for child support, I encourage you to call my office at (347) 642-0376 and/or visit my website at www.nivinlaw.com.
Joseph H. Nivin, Esq.
The Law Offices of Joseph H. Nivin, P.C.
118-35 Queens Boulevard, Suite 1220A
Forest Hills, NY 11375
The Chanin Building
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 2100
New York, NY 10168