Both parents have an obligation to support their children. After a divorce, the financial contributions one parent makes to the upbringing of a child often take the form of child support payments.

But sometimes, child support enforcement becomes necessary. Not every parent is particularly forthcoming with child support payments.

According to the latest Census report available, in 2011, 6.3 million custodial parents were owed child support. Over the year, the average amount owed was $6,050.

In total, 2011 saw parents nationwide shorted more than $14 billion in unpaid child support. Failing to pay child support was the norm rather than the exception, unfortunately: in 2011, only a paltry 43 percent of parents who were owed child support received the full amount they were due.

Child support obligations are imposed for a reason. Raising a child can be a very expensive endeavor, and it is only right that both parents contribute their fair share. That being said, circumstances can change, and child support obligations can be adjusted up or down as necessary through pursuing a child support modification in court.

In New York, someone who owes child support remains obligated to pay past due amounts even after the child is grown and is too old to still be entitled to support. Furthermore, the statute of limitations in New York for enforcing child support payments sets a limitations period of 20 years. If you are owed child support or if you need to modify the terms of child support, an experienced New York family law attorney can be of assistance.

Source: The Washington Post, “Things can get ugly when family and money mix, especially over child support” Michelle Singletary, July 12, 2014