In a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 4, the father appeals from an order of the Family Court, Suffolk County, dated November 4, 1999, which, in effect, confirmed a determination of the same court, dated September 13, 1999, that he had willfully failed to obey an order of the same court, dated December 9, 1996, and thereupon committed him to a term of incarceration of 120 days, unless he purged himself of his contempt by paying the sum of $10,000 towards arrears of child support.
A New York Family Lawyer said that, pursuant to an order of the Family Court, Suffolk County, dated December 9, 1996, the appellant was obligated to pay $576 per month in child support. The appellant allegedly has not made any payment under that order, and the Commissioner of Social Services filed a violation of child support order petition. A hearing was conducted on September 13, 1999, although the appellant was not represented by counsel and was not advised of his right to have counsel present. A Suffolk Family Lawyer said that, the Hearing Examiner found the appellant guilty of a willful violation of the support order, and on November 4, 1999, the Family Court denied his objections, confirmed the Hearing Officer’s findings, and committed the appellant to a term of incarceration. A Suffolk Child Support Lawyer said that, the appellant contends that he was not properly notified of his right to counsel and therefore his consent to go forward at the hearing was not given knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.
The issue in this case is whether court erred in citing the father in contempt for not paying the ordered child support.