Monday, September 19, 2022

Oswego County man jailed for failure to pay over $8,000 in back child support

An Oswego County man was given a 30-day jail sentence for not paying over $8,000 in past-due child support, following an appearance in Schuyler County Family Court on Tuesday (September 13, 2022).

According to the office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, the respondent was sentenced for a willful failure to obey prior court orders directing him to pay at least $175.00 per week for support of his three children. This failure, court records showed, dated back approximately ten years, and had already resulted in sanctions that included civil judgments, probation sentences, substance abuse treatment and a suspended jail sentences. However, despite the court’s past efforts to avoid jail, the respondent continued to miss court-ordered payments and owed $8,260.00 in back support.

Assistant County Attorney Vinton Stevens presented the case for the prosecution. In court, Stevens argued that the respondent was still not voluntarily making payments and had even quit his job recently. The respondent was now also facing a new child support violation charge, Stevens noted.

Based on the evidence, Stevens said the respondent should finally be incarcerated.

The respondent was represented by Ithaca attorney Francisco Berry. Berry argued that the respondent should not be jailed, but instead allowed to attend a faith-based substance abuse program.

After hearing from both lawyers, and giving the respondent an opportunity to speak, Schuyler County Family Court Judge Matthew Hayden determined that the respondent should be jailed. Hayden found that the respondent had been provided with “a lot of elasticity,” with regard to prior support violations and efforts to avoid jail but still failed to pay his debt for his children. Therefore, Hayden sentenced the respondent to thirty days in the Schuyler County jail.

Getman said he was satisfied with the court’s decision.

“Under New York State law, parents who willfully fail to obey court orders of child support can be sentenced to up to six months for contempt of court,” Getman noted. “Here, the respondent was given many chances to do right by his children, but repeatedly failed to do so.”

“Children deserve their parents’ support, financial and otherwise. Those who willfully fail to consistently support their children can, and will, be punished when appropriate.”

The County Attorney’s Office represents the Department of Social Services in prosecuting child support cases brought in Family Court by that agency. In addition, the office provides support collection services for eligible custodial parents seeking assistance in establishing and enforcing orders for child support.

The County Attorney’s Office was assisted in the prosecution and presentation of the case by employees of the County’s Child Support Enforcement Unit.

The man’s name and address were not released to protect the privacy of his children and family.