I see it time and time again, people get charged with violating
Orders of Protection for what they think is harmless but the courts see it otherwise.
In a recent decision an Order of Protection was issued prohibiting communication
between the parties by mail, telephone, email, or text. The mother alleged
that the father violated the Order of Protection by mailing seven
child support checks to her wherein three had offensive words in the memo portion of
The Family Court Judge dismissed the petition after a hearing, however
on appeal the decision was reversed.
The Appellate Division ruled that the order was violated by the mailing
of the checks with offensive remarks. It is not completely clear from
the decision if a violation would have been found had the father only
sent the checks without the offensive remarks, however the Court did state
that he failed to use other alternative ways of paying his child support.
It would appear less likely that the mother would have filed a petition
for the violation if the checks without comments had been mailed.
Moral of the story, smart ass comments on checks will never help. I recently
had a client who provided my office with proof of his child support payments
by check. In the memo portion he wrote "Extortion". Needless
to say, I advised him not to continue that practice.