Child support is a very difficult process – emotionally and financially. It affects both parents: those who have custody of the children and those who do not. The laws that determine child support are also very difficult. Here are links to basic guides to help you understand those laws.
For immediate assistance you can call the NY Office of Child Support Enforcement Helpline at (888) 208-4485. The helpline is open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (except holidays). Click here to see a list of local Child Support Enforcement Offices in Westchester. You must notify the state of a change in circumstances, e.g., address, employment, and incarceration.
The NY Office of Child Support Enforcement also has a web site that provides guidance on topics such as collections, enforcement, determining the level of support, and establishing paternity. You can look for information under Custodial Parent Services and/or Noncustodial Parent Services. You can register for an online account at this site, and use that account to manage your personal information (for example, if you change address or bank accounts) or payments. Call the Child Support Enforcement Helpline at (888) 208-4485 for more information.
Notes for Noncustodial Parents:
- While you were incarcerated, you were still responsible for support payments. Upon release, the amount that was unpaid will be part of your arrears (money that you still owe). You will need to pay this amount in addition to all payments going forward.
You may request to have your child support payments modified. However, there is no guarantee that your request will be granted. For example, if your sole source of income is public assistance, the payment amount may be reduced, but will not be eliminated entirely. For more information see Noncustodial Parent Information.
- Payments may not go directly to the custodial parent. For example, if the custodial parent is on public assistance, your child support payments are directed to the Department of Social Services.
- Be aware that purchases of items such as food or clothing for your children are generally not credited toward your support payments. For more information call the NY Office of Child Support Enforcement Helpline at (888) 208-4485.
- Completion of the R.E.A.L. Fathers program (see below) reduces state child support arrears for those receiving public assistance.