How Do I Get Child Support in New York?

You and your spouse had the perfect little house in a quiet neighborhood, just right for raising your three children. Expenses were manageable; but after filing for divorce, selling the house, and moving into separate apartments, you're finding it hard to make ends meet (especially since the kids live with you). Meanwhile, two of your kids need braces and you need to pay the tuition for your oldest kid's private school. You're lucky, because your estranged spouse is cooperating financially. But you will want to come up with a permanent solution to cover your children's expenses until they move out as young adults.

This is the intention of child support, or monthly payments made by the noncustodial parent for child-related expenses, which is required in New York and elsewhere.

Getting Child Support in New York

So how do you get child support in New York? There are three basic ways, which will depend on your particular situation:

  1. Ordered during a divorce case
  2. Ordered by filing a support petition in family court
  3. Arranged by written agreement between the parents

The custodial parent, who has physical custody of the child, is entitled to child support, even if the custodial parent can reasonably support the child on their own. And even if both parents are living together with the child(ren), one parent may get child support if the other refuses to pay for crucial childrearing expenses. If the child is under 21 but married, financially self-supporting, or in the U.S. military, they are considered emancipated and not entitled to parental support.

How to Get Child Support in New York: The Basics

When you're juggling multiple responsibilities as a parent and adjusting to your new life, the last thing you have time for is to decipher complex legal materials and procedures. That is why we have listed the pertinent details of getting child support in "plain English" in the helpful chart below.

Statute

New York Consolidated Laws FCT ยง 413, et seq.

How to File a Child Support Petition

  1. File a child support petition in Family Court in the county where the child lives (there is no filing fee).
  2. Serve a summons, a copy of the petition, and the financial disclosure form to the other party (typically the other parent's attorney).
  3. Both parties will appear in Family Court for a hearing, per the details of the summons, and the Child Support Enforcement Unit will be able to help you start the case.

Already Have a Support Order?

If you already have a court order for child support and the other parent won't pay, you may file a petition to enforce the order in Family Court (use the Support Violation/Enforcement DIY Form program to generate your petition).

Need to Modify a Support Order?

If you already have an existing child support order signed by a judge, you may file a Support Modification Petition to ask the Family Court to change the amounts to account for a "change in circumstances."

Information for Unmarried Parents

Child Support Forms

The exact forms needed will depend on the particulars of your case, but the New York Unified Court System provides all of the necessary child support forms in one place (PDF and DOC).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

How to Get Child Support in New York: Related Resources

Get the Child Support You Need: Contact a New York Attorney

Raising a child as a single parent can be extremely difficult, particularly when it comes to finances. While New York has specific procedures in place for custodial parents to seek support from noncustodial parents, it's often best to have a legal professional on your side. An experienced New York family law attorney will be able to ensure that you get the support your family needs.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.