Ways of Enforcing Child Support Orders
Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C.
The Nature of Child Support Orders
Children are legally entitled to receive adequate financial support from their parents so that they can obtain necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, medical treatment, and education. This right stems from a parent’s legal duty to support their children. A parent’s child support obligation derives from the parent-child relationship.
Unlike debts arising purely from contractual agreements, a parent’s duty to pay child support is a legal duty that can be judicially enforced in a variety of ways. In cases involving delinquent child support payments, a parent can seek judicial remedies regarding the enforcement of a parent’s child support obligations.
Common remedies regarding the enforcement of child support including:
- The interception of income
- The suspension of professional and recreational licenses
- A finding of contempt of court
A common method of enforcing a child support order involves garnishing the income of the noncompliant parent. If the parent seeking enforcement successfully demonstrates that the other parent is in default regarding the satisfaction of a court-ordered child support obligation, a court will enter a money judgment in the amount of the past-due support along with costs and disbursements.
A court also has discretion in making the following orders to enforce child support:
- Cash deposits for securing support payments
- Sequestration of income
- Income execution orders
- Income deduction orders
New York law allows courts to suspend or revoke the noncompliant spouse’s professional and recreational licenses as a way of coercing compliance with a child support order. A court’s enforcement order may direct a licensing agency—such as the Department of Motor Vehicles—to suspend the delinquent spouse’s driving privileges.
Licenses subject to suspension for purposes of enforcement include:
- Driver’s licenses
- Professional licenses (e.g., law, medical, etc.)
- Business licenses (e.g., alcoholic beverage, pet dealing, etc.)
- Occupational licenses (e.g., insurance broker, athletic trainer, etc.)
- Recreational licenses (e.g., hunting, fishing, firearms, etc.)
Contempt of Court
A parent’s child support obligation comes in the form of a legally binding court order. If a parent willfully disobeys such an order, a judge can hold them in contempt of court. A court’s contempt power may be used to secure courtroom decorum and vindicate their legal authority. A person who is found in contempt of court may be subject to additional monetary fines and even jail time.
When a jail sentence for failure to pay child support is imposed in contempt proceedings, a court can condition the noncompliant parent’s freedom on payment of past-due child support. As a result, the contemnor parent’s jail sentence can be as short as one evening or as long as several weeks, depending on when they decide to comply with the court’s orders.
Because the jail sentence is indeterminate, it is considered to be “civil contempt.” That is because the contemnor has the power to end their jail term at any time. Therefore, the due process protections afforded to defendants charged with a crime punishable by a longer prison term do not apply to civil contempt cases.
For Comprehensive Legal Solutions, Consult the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C.
Do you have questions or concerns regarding your rights and responsibilities in connection to a court order for child support? If so, you should seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C.. Attorney Tzvi Y. Hagler is dedicated to protecting your legal rights and advocating for your best interests in cases involving the enforcement of overdue child support payments.