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New York Family Law: What is this Notice on my Child Support Order about Incarceration?

IMG_0489It is standard for all Family Court Child Support Orders to have a notice telling the Respondent that failure to abide by the Order can result in incarceration, among other penalties. This is the Notice:

FAILURE TO OBEY THIS ORDER MAY RESULT IN INCARCERATION FOR CRIMINAL NON-SUPPORT OR CONTEMPT; SUSPENSION OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICESNE, STATE ISSUED PROFESSIONAL, TRADE, BUSINESS, AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSES AND RECREATIONAL AND SPORTING LICENSES AND PERMITS; AND IMPOSITION OF REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY LIENS.

The basis for this Notice Clause is found in Family Court Act 454(3)(a).

For due process considerations, whenever jail time is a possibility, the person must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. For example, in Child Support Enforcement Unit ex rel. Judith S. v. John M., 283 A.D.2d 40 (4th Dept., 2001)  the Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s holding that incarceration is a remedy for willful violations of support orders. The Court stated that “Family Court Act article 4 incorporates the contempt procedures set forth in Judiciary Law § 756 and permits incarceration for a willful violation of a support order.”

FCA 454 and the practice commentaries on the statute repeat that the remedies available for failure to pay child support are available after a hearing. It makes sense to have the Notice Clause automatically in the Orders up front –because of due process concerns, you cannot having a hearing on an issue without notice.

 

Disclaimer:
"This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before relying on the information in this blog."

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