LEGISALTIVE GAZETTE: DEADBEAT PARENTS BILL PUNISHES THOSE WHO QUIT WORK TO ESCAPE CHILD SUPPORT

 

    The Senate has passed a bill to crack down on deadbeat parents.

    The bill (S.2292), sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, and co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, aims to create consistency in first-degree and second-degree offenses of non-support of a child by a person who avoids employment to escape child support payments.

    “Those who are legally obligated to provide child support should not be allowed to escape criminal prosecution if they deliberately avoid paying child support,” said Ball, a member of the Senate Social Services Committee. “It is my hope that this legislation will send a strong message to deadbeat parents. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead and pass this bill.” 

    The bill has been sent to the Assembly (A.2328) where it is sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. It has 10 co-sponsors and 10 multi-sponsors and was referred to the Codes Committee.

    “The law already recognizes that a person obligated by court order to pay child support cannot intentionally terminate his or her employment, reduce his or her earnings or fail to diligently look for a job,” said Paulin, D-Scarsdale. “Doing this is a misdemeanor offense. But we need to make clear that if you purposefully avoid your child support obligation and you’ve been convicted of doing that before within the past five years, that is a felony.”

    According to Ball’s office, the bill makes clear that a person obligated to pay child support by the courts is guilty of non-support in the first degree when that person quits their job, reduces their earnings, avoids employment, or has been previously convicted in the preceding five years of the misdemeanor offense of non-support of a child.

    The bill aims to create consistency in the law so that purposeful termination of employment, reduction of earnings or failure to diligently seek employment may serve as a basis for both the felony and misdemeanor offense.

    “People who are legally obligated to provide child support should receive more than a slap on the wrist — they should be held criminally liable — when they take action to avoid paying child support after they’ve already been convicted once for dong the same thing,” Paulin said. (ARTICLE