Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Willful Violation — Necessary Fact-Finding Hearing
Manning v. Sobotka
Appealed from Family Court, Onondaga County
Background: The petitioner mother commenced a proceeding alleging that the respondent father willfully violated a child support order. After an appearance by the petitioner, wherein she stated she was not getting child support, the Support Magistrate ruled against the respondent. The respondent appealed.
Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed. The court held that the colloquy by the petitioner did not constitute the necessary fact-finding hearing required to develop a factual basis for a finding of willful violation. Specifically, the petitioner had admitted that the respondent was unemployed and struggling financially. The respondent’s counsel had requested an adjournment to obtain necessary medical records that allegedly would have demonstrated that the respondent suffered from a physical disability that prevented him from working.
Christine M. Cook of the Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society for the respondent-appellant