New policy targets deadbeat parents

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New policy targets deadbeat parents

Story By: Steve Bellone

Recently, I was joined by Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Suffolk County Legislator William Lindsay III, Assistant Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Tim Sini, and the Suffolk County Police Department to announce a new policy and enhanced measures addressing parents who are driving with a suspended license due to non-payment of child support.

The new initiative implements a policy whereby Suffolk County police officers will arrest such individuals who are observed operating a motor vehicle while their license is suspended.  There are currently more than 12,000 people with suspended licenses in Suffolk County for the failure to pay child support.

We are very concerned about the well-being of our families and kids in particular. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that those who bear the financial burden of taking care of children live up to their responsibilities.  The bottom line is simple: if you are ordered to pay child support, pay the child support. That’s it, clear and simple.

All too often we hear that parents are not fulfilling their child support obligations, which is unfair to mothers and fathers, to Suffolk County and most of all, to children.  With this new policy, we add yet another tool to our arsenal to force those to fulfill their obligations.

Under New York State law, driver’s licenses are suspended for those who have not paid their child support for four months and did not pay it after receiving a formal notice. The new policy is in compliance with several New York State laws, including the state’s Vehicle Traffic Law, Domestic Relations Law, Family Court Act, Social Services Law and Criminal Procedure Law.

Most people pay their child support. Of the people who don’t pay or are forced to pay, about 67 percent pay through garnishing salaries.  Another 16 percent comply because they’re forced to do so out of a necessity to drive. But that leaves 17 percent of the people who are not paying.  We have to do better. And that’s what this new policy is intended to do.

Presiding Officer Gregory has added, “This new initiative sends the right message: if you have failed to meet your obligation to pay child support, we are not going to allow that to continue any further.”

Since the policy’s implementation, 30 parents in Suffolk County have been arrested due to operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license because of failure to pay child support.