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New York City child support collections at record high

A multi-pronged program for collecting past-due child support in New York City allows custodial and noncustodial parents to receive help. The Office of Child Support Enforcement collected more than $730 million last year in delinquent child support payments. The amount equals more than $30 million, or nearly 4.5 percent above 2010 support collections of $700 million.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that overdue support collections from non-paying parents increased by more than half during his 10-year political term, up 53 percent since 2002. An average of $4,000 was added to child support received by New York custodial parents in 2011 through the efforts of the enforcement agency. The bulk of the retroactive support payments were harnessed through wage garnishment of noncustodial parents.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement collected back-owed support for 175,000 families last year. The mayor emphasized that the owed and paid support would be used to ensure that children are better fed and housed.

Increased collections are one part of the city's child support program. Another segment, known as the Mayor's Young Men's Initiative, helps non-custodial parents find jobs and manage finances to make sure child support gets paid.

A 21-year-old mother is proof that the job-procurement program works. The single mother told audiences at a recent public gathering that the city agency helped her son receive a substantial support increase by referring the boy's father to an employment program. The job program paid off. The boy's father found work as a driver. The custodial parent's support payments increased from $25 to $100 a month.

Another facet of the child support enforcement program works with law enforcement agencies. Criminal suspects are matched against a deadbeat parent list to find out if there is any history of child support delinquency.

It is important during child support cases that the amount is fair and reasonable for both parties. If the amount being taken from the noncustodial parent is higher than what it should be due to a change in circumstances, it is important for the parent to pursue a possible modification of support. It is better to have the support modified to meet the paying parent's current income than to have them not pay any child support at all because it is now beyond their means.

Source: nydailynews.com, "City gets $731M for kids from deadbeat dads," Tina Moore, Feb. 8, 2012

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