The New York courts place great importance on a parent’s duty to financially support their child. As such, if the courts determine that a party neglected to uphold their support obligation, they may choose to impose sanctions on the party. Not all failures to pay child support are sanctionable, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a matter arising out of a dispute over a father’s financial obligations to his children. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable New York child support lawyer to assess your rights.
Factual and Procedural History of the Case
It is reported that the mother and father shared custody of their three children, and the father had an obligation to pay the mother child support. The father neglected to pay support for an unspecified period of time, and the mother filed a motion for enforcement and for sanctions. The support magistrate determined, among other things, that the father’s failure to pay child support was not willful. He also declined to grant the mother’s request that the court order the father to pay half of one of the children’s private school tuition. The mother appealed.
The Court’s Findings
The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. First, the court found that the support magistrate’s finding that the father’s failure to pay child support was not willful was entitled to great deference, as it rested largely on the magistrate’s credibility determinations. Specifically, the magistrate found that the father credibly testified that he was unable to seek regular employment due to his parenting responsibilities. Continue reading