Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Child Support
- This guide is intended to answer the most common questions that some members may have regarding child support and support enforcement orders. Although this FAQ is available to anyone on the Police Pension Fund's Web site, it is NOT intended to provide legal advice to participants in the Fund.
- All information is based upon the current understanding of the law by the Legal Division of the Police Pension Fund. These laws and rules may be subject to change; therefore, please conduct any necessary legal research in addition to the information provided here.
- Confidential information regarding a specific participant's pension information will not be released to anyone, except the participant, without a court order or a release from the member.
- Information was taken directly from the New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement web site as well as directly from the Family Court Act found in the Judiciary Acts section of New York State Law.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Where do I go in New York to file for child support?
Pursuant to §580-102 of the New York State Judiciary Acts, to file for child support go to your county's Child Support Office and complete the Application for Child Support Services (CSS). This application can be downloaded here and brought to the Child Support Office.
What if I don't know where the non-custodial parent lives?
If the custodial parent does not know where the non-custodial parent lives, Child Support Services will attempt to locate them. CSS will attempt to locate them through inquiries at the last known address and place of employment, and through other local efforts. CSS also uses federal, state, and local resources to help locate the non-custodial parent.
What documents should I bring with me?
You should bring the name, residential address and social security numbers, as far as is known, of both you and the other parent. You will also need to supply the name, sex, residential address, social security number, and date of birth for each child for whom support is sought. The petition must be accompanied by a certified copy of any support order in effect. (§580-311)
Is it necessary to establish a legal relationship with the child before the court can order the respondent to pay for child support?
For children born to unmarried parents, unless paternity is established, 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 Acknowledgment of Paternity form, or, if there is any doubt regarding the identity of the father, child support staff can assist either parent filing a paternity petition to have the court determine the identity of the father - this determination is generally made using genetic marker or DNA tests.
How does the Family Court determine the amount of support?
CSS will assist custodial parents in filing a petition with the Family Court in order to obtain a child support order. Information regarding the non-custodial parent's ability to pay is presented to the court for use in calculating the support amount. The court uses a standard guideline to figure out what the non-custodial parent will pay. The child support amount is based, in part, on the non-custodial parent's adjusted gross income and in part on how many children are involved. The court first determines the non-custodial parent's gross income, and then deducts from the gross income Medicare, social security tax, city tax, and other allowable deductions to establish the non-custodial parent's adjusted gross income. The court then 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, and
- at least 35% for five or more children.
In each case, a share of child care, medical, and educational expenses is added to the appropriate percentage amount. Together, the combined amount is the basic child support amount. The standard guideline percentage is applied to almost all parental earnings up to $80,000 (minus certain local and social security tax amounts). This includes worker's compensation, disability payments, unemployment benefits, social security payments, and many other forms of income. After $80,000, the court determines whether or not to use the percentage guidelines, and it may consider other factors in setting the full support award.
Until what age of the child is a parent responsible for providing child support?
Pursuant to §413 of the Family Court Act, the parents of an unemancipated child under the age of twenty-one years are chargeable with the support of such child.
Can it be extended if the child is attending college?
Am extension of child support can only be made by agreement of the parents or court order.
After the Family Court issues and order of support, how long does it take before I receive payments?
The Police Pension Fund is a monthly payroll and therefore will generally implement any orders received by the 15th of the month in that same month. Any orders received after that date generally will be implemented the month following receipt.
My spouse doesn't make timely support payments. How can I compel him/her to make payments on time?
There are two administrative procedures that can be applied to collect child support: Income Execution and Unemployment Insurance Benefits Intercept. Income Execution is the process by which payments for current and/or overdue support are deducted from a non-custodial parent's wages or other income by the non-custodial parent's employer or income payor. Non-custodial parents who are receiving unemployment insurance from the New York State Department of Labor will have current and/or overdue child support payments automatically deducted from their UIB payments.
What can I do to have overdue support collected?
A delinquent non-custodial parent's federal and/or State income tax refund may be intercepted to pay overdue child support. The names of delinquent non-custodial parents may be submitted to the major consumer credit reporting agencies. As a result, the non-custodial parent may have difficulty obtaining a loan or other forms of credit until the overdue child support is paid. New York State lottery winnings may be intercepted to pay overdue child support. Financial assets, including bank accounts, may be seized in order to satisfy overdue child support. New York State driver's licenses may be suspended for a delinquent non-custodial parent. The New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement and the U.S. State Department work together to prevent delinquent non-custodial parents from renewing or obtaining a passport. Liens may be filed against a delinquent non-custodial parent's real estate or personal injury claims or awards in order to collect overdue child support. The names of delinquent non-custodial parents are sent to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF). DTF can then apply specific tax collection remedies to collect the overdue child support.
What are arrears?
Arrears are past due, unpaid child support owed by the non-custodial parent.
Will health insurance be provided to dependent children by the non-custodial parent?
If a court order for child support directs the non-custodial parent to provide health insurance coverage, a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) is sent to the employer. The NMSN requires the employer to obtain the necessary health insurance on behalf of the non-custodial parent's dependent children.
I obtained an order of support in a foreign country. Can I enforce it in New York?
An order for support that originated in a foreign country can only be enforced in New York if the Order has been registered pursuant to section 5402 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR).
I am not happy with the amount awarded for child support. Is there any way to have the order modified?
Either parent or the Family Support Collection can file a petition in Family Court to request a modification to an existing child support order. The modification petition should be based on the fact that either the custodial or non-custodial parent's circumstances have materially changed (e.g., change in income or other changes in circumstances).
I have joint custody of my child, and the child lives with the other parent. Can I get the order of support reduced?
At any point that you want the amount of child support reduced, you should go back to court immediately and file a petition for modification. The petition for modification is filed with the court that originally issued the child support order. Only the court can change the amount you pay. Until it does, under the law you still owe the amount of support in the original court order.
When there are competing DRO and child support orders, which takes precedence?
When executing multiple support orders, the Police Pension Fund will deduct the Domestic Relations Order prior to any deductions for child support. This is because under a DRO, the member's pension has been declared marital property for equitable distribution and is not considered part of the retiree's "disposable income." Marital property is deducted first from gross income, and then what is left (after pension loans, other garnishes, etc.) is considered "disposable income," for purposes of child support.