Support Check With Offensive Memo Violated Order Of Protection

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 check.

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.