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What can I do if I can’t meet my child support obligation?

Sadly, there are quite a few non-custodial parents in the United States who are unable to meet their child support obligations — many of whom live in New York. Custodial parents often depend on child support in order to make ends meet, so when it is not paid, this can cause significant financial problems. The simple truth is that numerous non-custodial parents do not have the income necessary to pay the amount of support ordered. What, if anything, can be done when this is the case?

Those who are unable to pay their child support due to economic troubles do have the right to request a support order modification. This is not always easy to achieve, but under the right circumstances, it may be granted. So, what personal circumstances may warrant a child support modification? A few might include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Reduction of income
  • Custody changes
  • Child becomes emancipated

If a non-custodial parent’s situation changes, he or she may file a modification petition in Family Court. This should be done as soon as possible, as any changes that are approved will only take affect from the date the petition is filed. After filing the appropriate petition, a hearing will be scheduled. If, for some reason, one can not physically attend the hearing, it may be possible to appear via telephone. This is generally only allowed if the non-custodial parent will have to travel a considerable distance in order to attend in person.

Child support modification is not always granted. A non-custodial parent will have to show proof of a change in circumstances in order for this to be obtained. This can be done by providing W-2s, tax returns, pay stubs, custody papers or any other evidence that shows a change has occurred. Parents in New York can seek assistance when dealing with child custody issues. An experienced family law attorney will do everything possible to help these individuals achieve custody orders that provide sufficiently for their children but are also affordable.

Source: otda.ny.gov, “A Guide For Noncustodial Parents Paying Child Support”, Accessed on Nov. 24, 2015

Important Information

COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus)  Update 3-20-2020

By order of Governor Andrew Cuomo, beginning 3-22-2020, all non-essential business in New York state must close their physical offices in response to the rapid rate of positive reported cases of COVID-19 in New York State.

Although this will impact the in office and in person services that LIT can provide, we will still be working remotely from our homes to serve our existing clients and we will continue to serve the public on a remote basis with any new legal matters for which they may need assistance.

We as a nation have overcome great obstacles in the past and although the challenges that lie ahead of us as community, as a state, and as a nation are great, we will overcome them as our resilience as individuals, as a community and as a nation will allow us to prevail.

May all of you and your loved ones be safe and well .

Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP


Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 845-566-5345

For more information regarding the COVID-19 virus please visit any of the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NYS Department of Health

Orange County Dept. of Health

Ulster County Dept. of Health

For information and updates regarding court postponements or closings please visit:

NYS Unified Court System

9th Judicial District

3rd Judicial District