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Petitioner Objects to Cost of Living Adjustment


This case stemmed from a divorce action between parties dated May 5, 2005. After the trial, the Family Court ordered a judgment of divorce. A New York Custody Lawyer said the judgment also set forth the support obligations of the father. The father made objections to the order of the court but the same were denied. In his letter dated June 29, 2009, he also made objections to a cost-of-living adjustment order dated March 21, 2009, and after a hearing, the court found that his objections were untimely, and denied his objections with prejudice. Later on, the father filed an appeal assailing the order of the Family Court, particularly its child support provision.

In the parties’ judgment of divorce dated May 5, 2005, the father’s weekly support obligation was set at $235.72. Upon the mother’s application, the support collections unit (SCU for brevity) issued a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA for brevity) order dated March 21, 2009, that increased the father’s weekly support obligation to $267. More than three months later, by letter dated June 29, 2009, the father raised objections to the COLA order, explaining that, although he had received a notice from the SCU in February 2009 of the availability of a COLA to his child support obligation, he never received a copy of the COLA order dated March 21, 2009. Later on, the father admitted that he had previously received the notice of the COLA instructions at his residence, one month prior to the date of the COLA order.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the Support Magistrate denied the father’s objections with prejudice as untimely, finding that the father offered no credible evidence to rebut the proper mailing by the SCU to him of the instructions for filing objections and the COLA order. The father then filed objections with the Family Court, which denied his objections.

The court noted that either party or the SCU may challenge a proposed COLA order by submitting a written objection.

A Long Island Family Lawyer said specifically, pursuant to the plain language of Family Court Act section 413-a(3)(a) “An objection to a cost of living adjustment, as reflected in an adjusted order issued by a support collection unit, may be made to the court by either party to the order, or by the support collection unit, and shall be submitted to the court in writing within thirty-five days from the date of mailing of the adjusted order. A copy of the written objection shall be provided by the objecting party to the other party and to the support collection unit”. A Bronx Family Lawyer said the law also explained that This statutory language is analogous to the 35-day mailing time limitation period set forth in Family Court Act § 439(e), under which written objections to orders of support magistrates have been denied on the ground that the objections were untimely filed.

Applying these principles to the instant matter, the Supreme Court found that the Family Court properly denied the father’s objections to the COLA order as untimely. A Brooklyn Family Lawyer said the court accord deference to credibility determinations and, under the facts of this case, the Supreme Court found no basis to disturb the Family Court’s determination that the father received the COLA order, but failed to timely object until almost 60 days after the 35-day statutory limitation period expired. In addition, the father failed to provide proof of mailing of his COLA objections “to the other party, [the mother] and to the support collection unit” as required by Family Court Act § 413-a(3)(a), which created a separate basis for denial of his objections. The father’s remaining contentions were found to be without merit.

A Manhattan Family Lawyer said this case demonstrates the importance of filing motions and pleadings on time. Timeliness is a very crucial element in Family Court proceedings, that is why you need to employ a Suffolk County Child Support Attorney who possesses good time management skills and can adequately meet your demands as a client. You should not take your chances when it comes to these matters.

At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, we ensure that each and every Suffolk County Family Lawyer is competent and capable of handling child support cases. You may consult any of our Suffolk County Family Attorneys by visiting any of our branches in New York.

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