Child Support

In interstate child support cases, the custodial parent, the parent residing with the child, lives in one state or country. The non-custodial parent, the parent not residing with the child, lives in another.

Federal law requires that all states have a child support program, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) governs Interstate Child Support cases. In New York City, the Human Resources Administration's Office of Child Support Enforcement runs the child support program, and the New York City Law Department handles certain cases on its behalf.

The Law Department's Interstate Child Support Unit appears in New York City Family Court on behalf of out-of-state custodial parents who seek to establish paternity and obtain, modify, or enforce a child support order from a New York City resident. In these cases, the local child support agency in the county where the custodial parent lives refers the case to the Law Department. Law Department attorneys then appear in the borough Family Court where the non-custodial parent resides.

If the custodial parent lives in New York City and the non-custodial parent resides in another state, the Law Department may be able to assist in filing for child support, modifying an existing order, or seeking enforcement of an order. The Law Department may also be able to pursue cases when the non-custodial parent resides in another country.

The Law Department handles four types of child support cases: establishment of paternity and parentage, establishment of support, modification of support, and enforcement of support.

Establishment of Paternity and Parentage
Establishment of Support
Modification of Support
Enforcement of Support

Please find additional information.

Information for Local Custodial Parents
Information for Custodial Parents Residing in Another State
Child Support Application Materials (link to applications page)
Information for Non-Custodial Parents
Frequently Asked Questions

Establishment of Paternity and Parentage

Paternity must be established in cases where a child is born to unmarried parents. Establishing paternity identifies the child's legal father. This may be done by both parents completing a document called an Acknowledgement of Paternity or by filing a court petition. In cases where paternity is not established, the Family Court may require genetic (DNA) testing. When a child's parents are the same sex, the courts may also determine parentage.

Paternity and parentage gives rights and benefits to the mother, father, and child. Those rights and benefits include:

  • information on family medical history
  • the child's knowledge of his or her father
  • health or life insurance from either parent, if available
  • support from both parents, such as child support and medical support
  • benefits such as Social Security or veteran's benefits, military allowances, and inheritances
  • seek a court order for visitation or custody and participate in legal decisions about the child

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Establishment of Support

The law states that a child should be supported by both parents. The Law Department assists local and out-of-state custodial parents in establishing an order of support from the non-custodial parent. A child support order in New York is based on both parents' ability to provide support.

A New York State law commonly referred to as the Child Support Standard Act (CSSA) establishes a formula that the court will apply in most cases. However, if the case is sent to the state where the non-custodial parent lives, the law of that state will apply.

If you are the custodial parent and live in NYC and the non-custodial parent lives in another state you may file a petition for child support in one of the local Family Courts. It will be necessary to determine if the New York court has jurisdiction to hear the case. The staff at the courthouse will ask you questions to determine if you can file your case in New York. If the case is filed in New York City, the Law Department will arrange for the child's non-custodial parent to be served with notice of the court proceeding. If the case is going to be sent to another state, the Law Department will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork and will send the case to the other state on your behalf. In these cases, one of the Law Department staff will keep you informed of the progress of your case. It will be handled in court by the child support agency in the state where the non-custodial parent lives. In most instances, the order of support will date back to the filing date of the case.

If you do not have a current address for a non-custodial parent, the Human Resource Administration's Office of Child Support Enforcement can assist you.

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Modification of Support

Under certain circumstances, a custodial parent with an order of support may request that the court review the order for a change in terms. If you are a custodial parent with an order of support and are seeking a change in the order, the Law Department may be able to assist you. The standard to change an order of support varies from state to state, but in most instances you must show a change in circumstances. In some cases, the passage of a designated period of time since the original order was made is sufficient.

If you are a custodial parent seeking to change an order of support, the Law Department will contact the state where the non-custodial parent resides. If your circumstances support a request for a modification of the order, a member of the Law Department's staff will prepare the necessary paperwork and forward the request to the state where the non-custodial parent lives.

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Enforcement of Support

If you are a custodial parent with an order of support that is not being paid according to its terms, a proceeding may be brought to enforce the order. The Law Department appears in the local New York City Family Courts on behalf of custodial parents who reside in another state.

If you are a local custodial parent, the Law Department will send your request to the state where the non-custodial parents resides and ask the child support agency or local court to take administrative and/or judicial action against the non-custodial parent. An example of an administrative remedy is having the monies taken directly from the non-custodial parent's pay check. This is called an income execution. A judicial remedy may require the non-custodial parent to attend a job training program.

In all of the proceedings described above, it is necessary that the non-custodial parent receive notice of the case. If the court is satisfied that the notice provided to the non-custodial parent complies with the law, the court may proceed, even if the non-custodial parent does not appear in court.

Get more information on enforcement actions

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Information for Local Custodial Parents

If you reside in the five boroughs of New York City, you are eligible for the Law Department's free services if all of the following criteria apply:

  • You are the custodial parent of a child and live in New York City ("custodial parent" means the parent, relative, guardian, or caretaker of a child) and
  • The non-custodial parent lives in another state and
  • Your child is not receiving cash assistance and
  • You have completed an application for services with the Office of Child Support Enforcement, Family Court Support Services in the borough where you reside.

Find an Office of Child Support Enforcement

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Information for Custodial Parents Residing in Another State

If you are an out-of-state custodial parent who completed an interstate petition in your local child support agency, and the non-custodial parent lives in New York City, it is likely the Law Department will be assigned to the case.

Under these circumstances, the Law Department is notified of the case by the Office of Court Administration. Law Department staff then conduct a review of the petition and documents and send a letter to the custodial parent's local child support agency office or a specific caseworker in that office, if one has been assigned. The letter contains the next court date and may seek additional information. In most instances, a letter is also sent directly to the custodial parent as well. Although a Law Department attorney will present the case in court, the attorney does not represent the custodial parent. Rather, the attorney appears on behalf of the child support agency.

The Law Department arranges for the non-custodial parent to receive notice of the court date. Afterwards, the case proceeds before a Support Magistrate in the Family Court. There are times when a case may be assigned to a Judge of the Family Court.

The custodial parent may be permitted or required to appear at the court dates by telephone. It is important for the custodial parent to maintain contact with the local child support agency where he or she resides. The Law Department communicates with that agency throughout the proceedings, and the custodial parent may seek status information from the local agency.

Once the court has made a determination on the case, the Law Department notifies the local child support agency and the custodial parent.

If a custodial parent's address or telephone number changes, he or she must immediately notify the local child support agency with the new information.

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Information for Non-Custodial Parents

A non-custodial parent is the parent who does not live with the child and is not the primary caretaker of the child. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (link to: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/child-support-services.page) offers non-custodial parents programs that will help to manage their child support case.

Resources for non-custodial parents:

  • In Person:
    New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement Customer Service Center
    151 West Broadway
    4th floor
    New York, NY 10013
    Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Hotline:
    The New York State Support Customer Service helpline
    888-208-4485
    Available 24 hours / 7 days a week.
  • Online:
    New York Child Support
    Office of Child Support Enforcement

Payments by non-custodial parents can be sent to:

New York State Child Support Processing Center
P.O. Box 15363
Albany, NY 11212
(Be sure to include the account number on the check or money order.)

Please view the Family Court Division's contact information (link to Contact page)

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