The divorce of parents in New York often obligates one person to make child support payments. Someone who loses his or her job, however, might fall behind on payments. Some individuals might work out an arrangement that allows a person to catch up on payments, but unpaid child support might cause other custodial parents to request an enforcement action.

After informing a child support enforcement agency about a parent who fell behind on payments, the consequences could be severe. The back child support places a black mark on a person’s credit report. This could prevent him or her from getting housing or a vehicle because loans will be denied. Without reliable transportation, a parent who wants to start earning again and catch up on child support might find it impossible to get a job.

Employers might also look at an applicant’s credit report before extending a job offer. Documentation about child support debts could cause a company to deny employment to someone. This situation could spiral downward and leave a person without the means of ever catching up on payments. Although unpaid child support naturally angers the parent who needs the money for the family, an enforcement action could worsen the situation and undermine a parent’s ability to financially support his or her children long term.

When a person decides to get a divorce, the law bases child support payments on both parties’ income and living expenses for children. People have the option of negotiating specific support agreements, but if they cannot come to terms, a family court might make an arbitrary decision based on state guidelines. The representation of an attorney might enable a person to gain a fair deal when ending a marriage that meets a family’s needs but does not impose significant financial hardship.