Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Chautauqua County Dept. of Social Services v. Rita M.S.
Appealed from Family Court, Chautauqua County
Background: The petitioner commenced an action directing the respondent stepmother and father to furnish support for four children. The petitioner was seeking child support retroactively to the time that the children entered foster care in New York. Upon the respondents’ default, the support magistrate directed child support. A few months later, the respondents moved to vacate the support orders for lack of personal jurisdiction. Their motion was denied.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. To properly vacate a default judgment, the respondents needed to file a motion for excusable default. Moreover, the respondents had waived any right to a hearing on jurisdiction by submitting their motion on papers only. Finally, the court had properly determined it had jurisdiction as the children resided in New York as a result of the respondents’ acts and directives. Specifically, the respondent had requested the children be placed in the care of the children’s aunt after a no-contact order had been issued.
Robert D. Arenstein for the respondents-appellants; Julie B. Hewitt for the petitioner-respondent; Andrew T. Radack and Michael J. Sullivan, attorneys for the children