2008-01-18 / Community

Addabbo: Cut Child Support Arrears Period

Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. has announced that he is the prime sponsor of a resolution in the city Council calling upon the New York State Legislature to introduce and pass legislation that would reduce the time currently allowed for late child support payments.

The councilman said that part of the reason for the legislation is that child support generally aids parents in promoting the well being and development of their children.

The federal government enacted a Child Support Enforcement program in 1975 as a federal/state/local partnership to strengthen families by securing financial support from non-custodial parents, and to lower government costs of providing cash welfare to families with absent parents.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement reports that during fiscal year 2006, the total amount of support due was over $29 billion, of which only $18 billion was collected and distributed, leaving $11 billion in arrears.

According to the same report, in the State of New York $1,788,946,886 billion of child support was due in fiscal year 2006, of which $1,161,209,909 billion was collected and distributed, leaving $627,736,977 million in arrears. The New York City Human Resources Administration reports that in fiscal year 2007, $601,900,000 was collected in child support, which was only 69.3 percent of obligations due.

Addabbo said, "Late or non-payment of child support obligations can be detrimental to the proper care of a child. This legislation seeks to put more pressure on individuals to make their child support payments on time."

Punitive measures such as garnishing of wages, unemployment compensation interception, and state or federal income tax refund offsets were created to increase the likelihood that non-custodial parents would comply with child support orders issued by the courts. Additional consequences include the suspension of driver's, professional, occupational, business, and recreational licenses.

Addabbo stated that the current state Domestic Relations Law allows for the suspension of these licenses if the equivalent of four months of arrears is outstanding.

"If the threshold amount of arrears accruals before licenses can be revoked is reduced from four months of arrears to two months of arrears, it will help to ensure that custodial parents have the financial support to provide for their children by providing an additional incentive for non-custodial parents to pay their obligations promptly," said Addabbo.

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