Family Court Act, Article 4, Support Proceedings Part 2, § 427: Service of summons
In order to get a legally enforceable child support order you must go to Family Court and petition the court for such an order. The first step is for you as the petitioner to file a child support petition with the Support Magistrate at Family Court. You will then have to serve the petition along with a summons to the person from whom you are seeking support, known as the respondent. Once you submit your petition, a summons will be issued. The summons will state the date, time and place of the child support hearing. According to Family Court Act, Article 4, § 427 the summons must be served to the respondent in a specific manner as follows:
- Personal service may be made by delivering of a copy of the summons and petition. Or service may be made by delivering a copy to a person of suitable age at the respondent's residence, or place a business and by mailing a copy to the respondent at his or her last known address at least 8 days prior to when the respondent must appear for the hearing.
- Service must be made at least 8 days prior to when the respondent must appear for the hearing
- If after a reasonable effort personal service is not possible, then the court may order substitute service.
- Service may also be made by mail alone. However, if service is made by mail, a default order may be issued only if the court has notice that the respondent actually received the summons. In other words, when serving by mail, you must do so in a manner such that the respondent must sign a receipt which is returned to you as proof of delivery.
Robbie and Suzie are parents to 8-month-old Lulu. Robbie and Suzie dated for several years, but never married. They recently broke up. Since the break up Robbie has been inconsistent in sending Suzie money to help take care of Lulu. Suzie decided to get a child support order. Suzie completed a petition for child support. She then arranged for a summons along with the petition to be served to Robbie at his residence. However, the documents were not handed to Robbie or anyone else. Instead they were placed under the front door of Robbie's apartment building. Robbie never received them. Because Robbie did not receive the summons, he did not respond to the petition and he did not appear at the hearing. The Support Magistrate issued a default support order. Robbie later learned of the support order and filed a motion to dismiss the support order, arguing that he was never properly served. Robbie's motion will be granted because service was not completed in the manner required by Family Court Act, Article 4, § 427.Related Statutory Provisions
- Issuance of warrant; certificate of warrant: New York Family Court Act, Article 4, Support Proceedings, Part 2, § 428
- Sequestration of respondent's property: New York Family Court Act, Article 4, Support Proceedings, Part 2, § 429
- Temporary order of protection: New York Family Court Act, Article 4, Support Proceedings, Part 2, § 430
- Personal service of a summons and petition may be made by delivery of a true copy thereof to the person summoned at least eight days before the time stated therein for appearance; or by delivery of a true copy thereof to a person of suitable age and discretion at the actual place of business, dwelling place or usual place of abode of the person to be served and by mailing a true copy thereof to the person to be served at his last known residence at least eight days before the time stated in the summons for appearance; proof of service shall identify such person of suitable age and discretion and state the date, time and place of service.
- If after reasonable effort, personal service is not made, the court may at any stage in the proceedings make an order providing for substituted service in the manner provided for substituted service in the civil practice law and rules.
- In any case, whether or not service is attempted under subdivision (a) or (b) of this §, service of a summons and petition under this § may be effected by mail alone to the last known address of the person to be served. Service by mail alone shall be made at least eight days before the time stated in the summons for appearance. If service is by mail alone, the court will enter an order of support by default if there is proof satisfactory to the court that the respondent had actual notice of the commencement of the proceeding which may be established upon sufficient proof that the summons and petition were in fact mailed by certified mail and signed for at the respondent's correct street address or signed for at the post office. If service by certified mail at the respondent's correct street address cannot be accomplished, service pursuant to subdivisions one, two, three or four of § three hundred eight of the civil practice law and rules shall be deemed good and sufficient service. Upon failure of the respondent to obey a summons served in accordance with the provisions of this § by means other than mail alone, the court will enter an order of support by default. Such order of support shall be made pursuant to the provisions set forth in § four hundred thirteen of this article. The respondent shall have the right to make a motion for relief from such default order within one year from the date such order was entered.
If you are involved in a child support dispute, you are seeking to get child support established or modified, or you have been served with a child support summons, it is important that you understand and follow the rules related to a child support proceeding. To ensure that you are properly prepared and to ensure that your rights are protected, it is important that you are represented by someone with experience. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing clients in New York Family Court in matters related to child support enforcement, child support reduction, and other types of issues related to support. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those involved in child support matters in the following locations: