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OCSS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) & Additional Resources

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How can I receive child support services?

The NYC Child Support – ACCESS HRA Mobile App can help you enroll in child support services or submit a referral if you are receiving public benefits (watch the video). Alternatively, you can download an application using the links below. You can also call the Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485 to have an application/referral mailed to you or to request assistance with completing an application/referral. Learn more about how to apply for child support

Alternatively, you may be eligible to participate in the Child Support Stipulation Agreement Program (CSSAP). CSSAP can simplify the child support process and may reduce the time you spend in Family Court.

To determine if child support is right for you, please review: Information for all potential child support applicants about getting child support safely. Learn more about Domestic Violence.

Is there an alternative way to establish a child support order?

Yes. All clients applying for child support services can voluntarily proceed with an agreement to establish a child support order. In these situations, the CP and NCP will meet (together or separately, virtually or in person) with a Customer Service representative to prepare an agreement based on standard child support guidelines. Both parents will sign it and the agreement, petition, and all supporting documents will be reviewed by HRA's Office of Legal Affairs before the package is filed in Court for a hearing to be scheduled. Usually only one Court appearance is required for an Order on Consent to be approved by the Court.

During this process, Child Support staff will:

  • Contact both parents to explain the process.
  • Meet with both parents by phone or in-person (together or separately) to discuss their financial situation and come up with a child support agreement.
  • Review financial documentation just as it is done in court.
  • Use the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) to set the amount of the order at a percentage of the parents' income, just as the Support Magistrates normally do in court. Access the Child Support Calculator online to get an estimate of the amount the noncustodial parent will have to pay and the amount of child support income a custodial parent will receive.
  • Complete the agreement document and obtain the required signatures.
  • File a petition for an "Order on Consent" with Family Court.

The benefits of this option are:

  • Fewer court hearings and less time in court
  • Opportunity to ask questions and be guided through the process at your own pace by knowledgeable child support staff
  • Assistance for parents from a neutral intermediary (i.e. child support staff).

If an agreement cannot be reached, custodial parents can still file a traditional child support petition with the court with the help of OCSS staff.
It is important that the noncustodial parent go to court hearings with documentation that clearly shows their financial circumstances. This helps the Support Magistrate set an order at an amount that aligns with the noncustodial parent's income.

Get started today! Email Child Support at with subject "agreement".

I Have a Child Support appointment – for Cash Assistance Applicants and Recertifications

Not responding to a child support notice or missing a child support appointment may result in your Cash Assistance benefit being reduced by 25%, loss of Medicaid coverage for yourself, and loss of eligibility for some rental assistance programs. For assistance, please call the phone number on your appointment notice or email OCSS at

How can I modify my child support order?

Parents who need to modify their court order due to a change in circumstance can discuss their options with an OCSS worker and can enter into an agreement voluntarily before an appearance in court. This service is called Modifying Orders Through Stipulation (MOTS) and can be discussed with an OCSS worker.
In summary, for an agreement:

  • An OCSS worker drafts the agreement using the same guidelines as the court and helps the parents gather the required documents and answer questions.
  • The approved agreement package is filed in court for a hearing to be scheduled.
  • Usually only one court appearance is required for the Support Magistrate to make sure the parents understand their rights and responsibilities and to issue a modified order on consent.

To learn more, schedule an appointment with an OCSS Customer Service representatives by emailing with subject: "agreement". Be sure to include your child support case ID number in the email.

I want to stop a sanction

To lift (stop) a sanction, custodial parents need to comply with the requests of the Child Support Program. Watch Cash Assistance: Why Comply with NYC Child Support. Contact the local OCSS Borough Office to get more information on how to comply.

Child Support Borough Offices serve as the point of entry into the NYC Child Support Program for parents and guardians applying for or receiving Cash Assistance. They are automatically referred to OCSS for child support services and are required to comply with the Child Support Program in order to receive full Cash Assistance benefits and medical benefits for themselves. Those that do not comply because they do not keep their appointment, provide required documentation/information, or appear for a parentage hearing are referred for sanctioning. These clients lose 25% of their cash benefit, Medicaid for themselves, and may not be eligible for some rental assistance programs.

I want to make a payment

For information about making a child support payment, refer to Your Child Support Payment Options. Payments made directly to the custodial parent will not be credited to your child support account and will still need to be made to the Support Collection Unit (SCU).

How is child support calculated?

To learn more about how child support is calculated, try our online Child Support Calculator.

How do custody, visitation, and child support intersect?

Custody & visitation orders are obtained in Family Court. Some parents do not have custody & visitation orders but have agreed among themselves who the child will live with and how often the other parent will see them.

A child support order is also obtained in Family Court. Parents may establish a child support order without having custody & visitation orders or an agreement in place.

If you have a child support order and the custody of the child changes, you must inform Child Support as soon as possible by emailing with subject "custody changed" or call the Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485 between 9:00 am and 5:30 pm. You must submit documentation showing the child resides with you, along with a contact number.

Child Support is not aware when custody & visitation changes unless we are informed by a parent or guardian. The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) will continue to collect child support income so long as there is a valid child support order in place.

A parent must file a petition with the Family Court to terminate the child support order when the custody change is permanent or suspend the child support order when the change is temporary and the child is expected to return to the custodial parent.

The petition to terminate or suspend the child support order must be filed as soon as possible because a child support order is modified only back to the date the petition is filed and not the date that the child began living with the other person.

Custody & visitation orders are not required to suspend or terminate a child support order. You must give proof to the Family Court documenting with whom the child resides to change your child support order to terminate or suspend it. The type of documentation that is acceptable includes:

  • copy of your custody order
  • copy of school record
  • copy of lease showing the child(ren) lives with you
  • a doctor's note showing a change in the primary parent

I need to apply for relief from an administrative enforcement action

I need help serving a summons

OCSS can serve a summons for a child support petition for either parent on your behalf. For more information, contact us by emailing us at
Learn more about serving a summons

Do I need an attorney at my child support hearing?

In court, the Support Magistrate will listen to testimony and review the income and expense information of both parents. That information will be used to calculate how much support the noncustodial parent must provide. Family court is set up so that you can represent yourself. You do not need a lawyer, but you may hire one if you wish.

OCSS offers parents the option to draft a child support agreement or modify a current order with the help of Child Support Customer Service staff. Staff will review financial documents and apply the same guidelines that the Support Magistrates do in court. The agreement will then be submitted to the court as a basis for an Order on Consent. This process usually requires only one court hearing. To learn more, email us at with "Stipulation" in the subject line.

I need Family Court assistance

Court information is available at A petition can be filed in person at the courthouse or through EDDS (the court's electronic document delivery system), or by U.S. mail addressed to the appropriate county Family Court.

Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), a non-profit organization, can support your technology needs with computers, internet access, phones, scanners, printers/fax, and assistance with Court navigation support. Visit for more information.