Skip to main content

I have a 19 year old child with a women I am not nor ever was married to. Unbeknownst to me, she has been collecting welfare.

New York, NY |

Over the years I have always supported my son. I received a notice that I am being brought to court to pay back child support. There was never a court order for me to pay child support because I have always supported my child. If I had NOT supported him, I am sure I would have ended up in court to pay child support. Apparently, the state of NY is suing me because she has been collecting welfare. If she did something illegal, I had nothing to do with it, nor was I even aware of it. Can i be ordered to pay back child support for something like this? She and I have never lived in the same state so I am clueless as to what she has been doing as far as state funded programs. Can I be held responsible and made to pay for this?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Even though the State is suing you for child support because the mother is on welfare, if you say there was never a court order for you to pay child support, the obligation, if it is determined you must pay, will only go back to the date of the Department of Social Services filing the support petition, presumably quite recently.

    Although petitions for support are usually filed voluntarily by a mother, and many people pay informal amounts of support without a court proceeding (your situation apparently), when the mother goes on welfare, the Department of Social Services takes over and seeks to collect support by the standards of the uniform Child Support Standards Act, which is approximately 17% of your gross income less FICA payroll taxes. Social Services does this to "recoup" the welfare it is paying the mother, and it goes to Social Services, not the mother.

    Since the child is now 19, your liability going forward will be limited to a two year period, since the obligation to pay child supports ends at 21.

    This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. In particular, my answers and those of others are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely solely upon Legal Information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at http://www.avvo.com/support/terms . In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the Avvo.com site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".


  2. Unfortunately you are responsible for paying the state child support if your child is on public assistance. You should consult with an experienced child support attorney to discuss your options, especially if you have proof that you have been providing her with child suppport the past ten years.

    Former Prosecutor and Family Court Law Clerk. I am available for phone consultations at (914) 368-2646. This answer is very general and is not intended to be specific legal advice and does not create any attorney/client relationship. Please consult an attorney with the specifics of your case to determine your best course of action in or out of court


  3. You are best advised to gather the evidence (cancelled checks, money order receipts, etc.) of you paying support. If she was committing welfare fraud, this may not effect your obligation to pay support back to DSSgoing forward (until the child is 21), but may impact the retroactive assessment. I highly advise you to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Support attorney.

    * If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.