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Can NYS claim back support from the time my daughter was in foster care AND I was paying my court ordered support payments?

Albany, NY |

My dauhgter was put into foster care for approxiamtely 1 month. I have been making and have never missed a child support payment in 14 years. After my daughter was released from foster care, Otsego county took me to court to get reimbursed for the costs. I went to my court date and the magistrate orderd me to repay an amount. I am arguing several things. I have been paying all payments on time. I tried several times to get the county to release my daughter to me so she would not be in foster care. During her time in foster care, the county never notified me I would have to pay anything other than my support payments. I plan on filing a motion to get everything dismissed and am wondering where I stand legally. Any help would be appreciated. Thank-you.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

You haven't provided all the facts an attorney would need, but from what you're saying, it sounds to me like you are the non-custodial parent as far as physical custody goes and quite possibly legal custody as well, since you are the one paying support. So if "something happened" that required the custodial parent to place the child in foster care (say the illness or incarceration of the custodial parent, or the child being disobedient or unmanageable), one would logically think the custodial parent should be responsible for the foster care obligations. Did the custodial parent offer you physical custody or file a petition for you to have physical custody during the foster care period?

Still, there may be some quirky provision in the County Law which allows them to go after either parent. This is not a very typical situation, and you will probably need an attorney to look into this on your behalf, especially if the amount the County is seeking is large. Call a Family Law attorney in Otsego country and bring all the relevant paperwork to your meeting, including all correspondence with the County concerning this foster care issue, previous custody and support orders, and your divorce decree and separation agreement. Good luck, something doesn't sound right to me here.

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Frank Stephen Ieraci

Frank Stephen Ieraci

Posted

The county is able to get support from BOTH parents when they have custody of a child. Sadly, they frequently only go after the one with more money.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

That's why I said I wasn't surprised that there would be something in the County Law dealing with "welfare" and "foster care" issues that doesn't play nice with the Family Court Act and Domestic Relations Law issues most family law practitioners are familiar with. It's good you offerred the clarification, and hopefully the questioner will be able to get credit for the support she paid and it will be determined why she did not get notice of the foster care placement.

Posted

I agree with Jack. Something is not right. Bring the court order for child support and the new paperwork to an experienced family law attorney in your area. There should only be one order for child support for the custodial parent or the agency as the assignee of the parent's rights.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.

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Frank Stephen Ieraci

Frank Stephen Ieraci

Posted

What probably happened is that the county did not timely file for support, so the prior order directing payment to the cusodian continued.

Posted

Unfortunately, the county can absolutely collect support from both parents for a child on public assistance. Children in foster care are almost always on public assistance. Also keep in mind that a child in foster care is legally in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services.

The county was required to notify you immediately when your child went into foster care. They must show that there are no fit and willing relatives to take the child. Something seems to have gone wrong with that process.

I don't know the details of your case. This may have been a voluntary placement by the custodian. But they were still required to notify you. They also should have gone to court to make sure they were getting the support you were already paying. If they got that money, the only other amount they can get is medical costs paid by medicaid. If you had other insurance for your daughter, you can submit claims. If they are approved, Medicaid can be reimbused by the insurance company.

Talk to a lawyer who deals with foster care issues as well as support. Many lawyers are familiar with child support. Not nearly as many are familiar with foster care.

This anawer is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and may be considered attorney advertising. This answer should not supplant advice received from any attorney the questioner may have or obtain, as that attorney will be able to provide more thorough and informed advice.

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