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Fugitive Has No Rights to Custody When Not Paying Child Support

In a published Appellate Division case, the Court upheld the doctrine of fugitive disentitlement to preclude an individual from seeking a custodial alternative during the period in which he has fled the country to avoid paying child support arrears.

The father had accrued child support arrears, which led the Court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.  Prior to his arrest, however, the father fled the country thereby making himself a fugitive.  Despite this fact, he attempted to persuade the Court to provide him relief on issues beyond the matter of support, including custody.  Although the Court recognized that the doctrine of fugitive disentitlement may not be consistent with the best interests of the child standard, it nonetheless held it applicable in this case--in part because the fugitive father was permitted parenting time and had not suggested an alternative custodial arrangement in light of his fugitive status.

This case is just one more example of the lengths the Court can go to ensure that child support is paid.

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