Heidi E. Opinsky

The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC

Are you currently considering a divorce?
Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options.

Do Mothers Pay Child Support in New York?

When most people think of child support in New York, they picture men having their wages garnished for their children while the mother retains physical custody. However, this image is outdated. It doesn’t reflect the fact that now, either parent can have primary custody. Either parent can also be ordered to pay child support. 

Regardless of which parent has primary custody, they are usually the recipient of child support. Here’s what to know about child custody, support, and when mothers may be ordered to pay a father instead of vice versa. 

Guidelines for Child Support in New York 

A child has the right to be financially supported by both of their parents until the age of 21. In the past, child support in New York was typically paid by fathers. This is because custody was awarded mostly to mothers. Now, family courts understand the importance of a child’s relationship with both parents for healthy development. They will evaluate a child’s situation to determine the best custodial arrangement.  

Although bias in the court system still exists, by and large both mothers and fathers are on equal footing when it comes to deciding which parent will pay child support. Support payments are generally made until the child turns 21. Or, support payments may end if the child becomes legally emancipated, serves in the United States military, or if parental rights are otherwise terminated. 

New York Child Support Criteria 

The following are a few of the criteria typically taken into consideration when determining which parent will pay child support in New York: 

  • The income of each parent 
  • The age and health of both parents 
  • The age and health of the child 
  • Which parent the child spends the majority of their time with 
  • Which parent has been responsible for the majority of the child’s care 

However, other pertinent information may also be evaluated as it relates to the child’s welfare and best interests. You do not need to have been married to collect or pay child support in New York. You may still pursue child support or be ordered to make payments whether or not you had a relationship with your child’s other parent. 

When Are Mothers Ordered to Pay Child Support in New York? 

The mother of a child may be required to pay child support in New York when: 

  • Paternity is established. A child’s biological paternity may need to be legally documented before either party is ordered to pay or receive child support. If the father is on the child’s birth certificate and/or was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, this may not be necessary. 
  • Primary physical custody is awarded to the child’s father. To receive child support, a father must keep the child in his home for 51% or more of the child’s time. Otherwise, support is typically awarded to the mother. 
  • She makes more money than the child’s father. A court may decide to award child support payments to the father if the mother makes more money, even in situations where the mother and father share equal time with the child. 

What If the Mother of My Child Doesn’t Make Child Support Payments? 

If a child’s mother is ordered to pay child support and refuses or neglects to do so, you can take action to enforce child support. When you request an enforcement action, the court will intervene and compel the child’s other parent to pay child support under the threat of consequence. 

Common enforcement methods include but are not limited to wage garnishment, fines, and the possibility of jail time. The law does not discriminate between the role of mother or father in regard to enforcement actions. Either parent can be held legally responsible for failure to pay court-ordered child support. 

Why Lawyers May Be Seeing an Increase in Mothers Who Pay Child Support 

Family lawyers in The Empire State may see an increase in the number of mothers being ordered to pay child support after a divorce or separation. This could be due to a number of different factors, such as more women becoming higher-earning employees and more fathers choosing to stay at home or work part time to raise their children. This is particularly true post-pandemic where many jobs that were once commutable are now remote and both mothers and fathers can work primarily from a home office space. 

When to Contact an Experienced Child Support Lawyer  

If you have a child with someone else, and you and your child’s other parent are getting a divorce or breaking up, contact a child support lawyer in Manhattan as soon as you can. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to actively be involved in a child support or custody case to discuss your options with a family law attorney. This allows you to begin taking the right steps immediately, before even filing any paperwork. Delays in consulting with a lawyer can be costly. Without adequate representation, you risk a judge ruling in the other parent’s favor.    

Call Veteran Manhattan Attorney Heidi E. Opinsky Today 

Heidi E. Opinsky is an experienced New York child support lawyer that can help you better understand your legal options and obligations when it comes to meeting your child’s financial needs. Whether you stand to pay or receive child support, it’s important that you have a skilled family attorney by your side. Your lawyer will help you navigate challenging legal processes and protect the best interests of your minor children. 

Contact Attorney Opinsky today to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation. We’re available now to discuss the details of your case and assist with your family legal needs by calling 203-653-3542.