Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law



H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience suggests that a child support recipient cannot make a claim for arrears for a child support add on, if the expense was not previously paid by the claimant. In New York, any Court ordered payment for a child that is made in addition to child support is called an “add on.”Stacks of money under a gavel

For illustration only (as an example unrelated to the Court case discussed below), let us say that PARENT A is directed in a judgment of divorce to pay the dental expenses of the child. A bill for $500.00 is submitted to PARENT A for the cost a set of dental x-rays for the child. PARENT A ignores the bill. PARENT B commences an enforcement proceeding to collect child support arrears, including $500.00 for the x-rays. The catch is that PARENT B hasn’t paid that bill before the Family Court hearing date. Can PARENT B collect the money for the dental bill under these circumstances.

In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, the Court held that to claim an add on expense as a child support arrearage, the parent/claimant must not only pay the bill, but the parent claimant must also provide the Court with admissible evidence of the payment of the expense at the hearing to be entitled to a money judgment for that add on expense. The Court determined that while the parent/claimant in the case before the Court had testified that payments for add on expenses were made, no proof of the payments were admitted into evidence during the hearing. The other party challenged the amount of the money judgment issued by the Family Court on appeal and prevailed. The Appellate Division directed a new hearing to fix child support arrears.

Proving child support arrears involve complex issues of evidence law. Trial objections can be raised to preclude the admission of evidence, frustrating bona-fide claims for child support arrears. This can result in no recovery for the parent/claimant where funds should have been recoverable.

My suggestion is that enforcement hearings should never be undertaken by unrepresented litigants on either side of a claim for the fixing of child support arrears.

I have been litigating Family Court child support enforcement cases throughout my career. Recent child support case results can be found within the TESTIMONIALS page on this website. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall Ring Road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Long Island, NY

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.