SENATORS PROPOSE NEW CHILD SUPPORT MEASURES TO HELP
THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK KIDS
Stronger Penalties and New Public Website to Help Ensure
New York Kids Get the Child Support They Need and Deserve
Senator Marty Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), Chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Critical Choices, today announced that a series of new proposals will be advanced to help strengthen New York’s child support enforcement efforts, and help identify and locate "deadbeat" parents who neglect to pay their child support. The announcement follows a shocking story in the New York Daily News, regarding a father who recently set sail on a 1,000 day, around-the-world sailboat trip with his girlfriend -- while owing thousands of dollars in child support payments.
New statistics show that last year more than $640 million that was owed to New York’s children went uncollected. At the same time, the number of deadbeat parents in New York has been rising, from 584,733 in 2003 to 605,056 in 2007.
"Having a child is the most wonderful experience a person can ever have, but having a child also brings personal responsibility," said Senator Martin J. Golden. "These tough new provisions will help send a loud and clear message that New York State will not tolerate parents who refuse to fulfill their most basic obligations to their children."
Included among the measures to be introduced are the following:
Ÿ New Website: This proposal would require the creation of a new Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website that would post photographs and identifying information of individuals who are more than $5,000 in arrears on their child support payments. Posting this information would encourage the public to notify authorities regarding the whereabouts of such individuals. In addition, the website would also help pressure more individuals to make good on their payments in order to avoid the potential shame and embarrassment of having such information made public. Other states, such as Illinois and Delaware, currently utilize such web sites.
Ÿ Suspension of Vehicle Registrations: Currently, New York suspends the licenses of individuals who are behind in child support payments. However, while license suspension can be a useful tool, the record shows that many unlicensed individuals continue driving for years without being detected by law enforcement. The suspension of a car’s registration would make it far more difficult to evade law enforcement. In addition to cars, this provision would allow for the registration suspension of all vehicles registered in New York, including trucks, ATV’s, motorcycles and boats.
Senator Andrew Lanza (R-I, Staten Island) said, "Parents have an important responsibility to raise their children as good and decent members of society. These provisions will help ensure that parents don’t walk away from their responsibilities to their children and our society."
Members of the Senate Task Force have also advanced additional legislation to further strengthen the State’s child support laws. These initiatives include:
S. 367 - Senator Young: This bill would direct the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to prepare an informational booklet advising parties in child and spousal support proceedings of their rights and the procedures to be followed in establishing and/or enforcing support obligations. This measure, which was approved by the Senate last year and again last month, has not been acted upon by the State Assembly.
S. 6958 - Senator Flanagan: This legislation, which was first introduced during this year’s session, would toughen penalties for serious cases involving individuals who owe more than $10,000 in child support. It would allow for class E felony charges to be brought in such cases, and would enable County Sheriffs to extradite non custodial parents that have accumulated over $10,000 in arrears and have left the state.
Senator John Flanagan (R-C, East Northport) said, "The Class E Felony charge is critical in giving the state the power to force these defendants back to New York to meet their obligations. If you have more than $10,000 in arrears you’re treating your children with outright neglect. Oftentimes it means the parent and child waiting for the support payment are forced to seek public assistance and that means other taxpayers are meeting your responsibilities. That isn’t fair and it should not happen."
Senator Cathy Young (R-I-C, Olean) said, "Many times, people involved with child support proceedings are not familiar with confusing family court procedures. This bill will require the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to prepare information explaining rights, liabilities and procedures for those participating in child support cases. I’m confident that this measure will help people understand their obligations."
"Neglecting to provide for one's children is unacceptable," said Senator Betty Little
(R-C-I, Queensbury). "It's unfortunate that it takes tougher laws to ensure some parents meet this basic responsibility."
As an additional resource, during the 2007 legislative session, the Senate and the Assembly have both already passed S.3845-C (Senator Dale Volker), which makes it a crime for a parent to knowingly fail or lawfully refuses to provide financial support for their child under the age of eighteen. The bill currently sits in the Assembly where it will be soon sent to the Governor for his consideration.
Current Law: Currently, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has the power to execute the following measures:
Ÿ Income Tax Refund Intercept (Federal and State).
Ÿ Credit Bureau Submission
Ÿ Lottery Intercept
Ÿ Property Execution
Ÿ Drivers License Suspension / Passport Denial
Ÿ Liens (real estate or personal injury claims)
Ÿ Tax Referrals (to the New York State Dept. of Taxation)